Smiling Goat Ranch

A nonprofit organization

$32,080 raised by 103 donors

Smiling Goat Ranch brings the healing effects of horses, movement, nature and an impassioned, supportive community to anyone with neuropsychiatric conditions including Autism, depression, anxiety, and PTSD, as well as veterans, women in recovery, and those affected by grief, trauma, and related conditions. All of our programs are offered to families free of charge. Your support keeps 100% of our program free for those most in need.


"We need more places like Smiling Goat Ranch where they apply out-of-the-box methods to help those suffering with mental health issues. Their clinically proven program puts those with neurosensory conditions like PTSD, autism, anxiety and depression into a healing environment. There is so much potential to help people where they integrate the outdoors and the healing qualities of animals."
- Lt Colonel Dick Merritt, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret)

"Life changing is the only way to describe it. The team uses Declan's favorite toys and games to push him into doing things that in other surroundings are scary. But the environment at the ranch is so welcoming that he feels comfortable in trying new things out (which for an Autistic child is HUGE)!"
- David Preston (Autism Dad)


To bring the healing effects of horses, movement, nature and an impassioned, supportive community to anyone with neuropsychiatric conditions free of charge using The Horse Boy Method and Movement Method.

Our clinically proven program puts those with neuropsychiatric conditions like Autism, depression, anxiety, and PTSD into a healing environment using horses, small social animals, and movement-based activities. In these activities, specific movements activate the cerebellum and prefrontal cortex, helping participants achieve emotional regulation, communication, learning, and more.

In seven years of our equine-assisted therapy program, we’ve helped hundreds of children and adults, and we’ve made a vow never to let fees hinder healing.

Background Statement

Why do we smile? In part, because it activates our brain, stimulating its emotional center (the amygdala) while releasing communication-boosting hormones like oxytocin, and mood-elevating neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. And smiling initiates a chemical domino effect that opens us up to relating better with others and with ourselves.

Which makes it a perfect name for Smiling Goat Ranch, the transformative haven in Carbondale, Colorado, where Sheryl Barto and her menagerie, offer a nonprofit equine-assisted therapy center based on the Horse Boy℠ Method and principles of neuroscience, and made available – at no charge – to families affected by autism and other neuropsychiatric conditions.

Founded in 2015, SGR helps humans heal through interactions with animals – mostly horses but also small social animals, including goats, dogs, cats and bunnies. Our founder is an autism mom herself, a US Air Force mom and sister, and daughter of a veterinarian. After learning about The Horse Boy Method – a clinically proven program which uses the healing effects of animals and a natural, outdoor environment to help people with neuropsychiatric conditions like PTSD, autism, anxiety, and depression – Sheryl transformed her own family’s property to create SGR. Horse Boy Method is now in 23 countries with 1,000 practitioners worldwide serving 12,000 families weekly. SGR is the only Horse Boy location on the Western Slope.

SGR was originally founded to help children with autism, inspired by Sheryl’s oldest son. Upon learning that the autism brain is similar to the PTSD brain, the program expanded to serve veterans with PTSD. Now in our 8th year, SGR serves people of all ages affected by autism, PTSD, ADHD, depression, anxiety, grief, addiction, and related conditions.

Organization Data


Organization name

Smiling Goat Ranch

other names


Year Established


Tax id (EIN)



Mental Health & Crisis Intervention, Military & Veterans Organizations, Youth Development, Animal-Related

Organization Size

Small Organization


271 Willow Lane
Carbondale, CO 81623

Service areas

Garfield County, CO, US

Eagle County, CO, US

Mesa County, CO, US

Pitkin County, CO, US



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