About Us

Kids Rein is a PATH Intl Member Center facility and has several accredited PATH Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructors.

*PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International)., a federally registered 501(c)3, leads the advancement of professional equine-assisted services by supporting PATH members and stakeholders through rigorously developed standards, credentialing and education.

Pattrino Farms is a designated Special Olympics Equine Center in Cabarrus County. In addition, there are four Certified Special Olympics Coaches.

Our Vision

To improve, enrich, and make a positive difference in the lives of children and adults with special needs, first responders and veterans

Our Mission

To provide therapeutic horseback riding utilizing early intervention techniques to benefit participants with special needs by providing equine therapy interaction through the movement of the horse. We strive for all participants to achieve positive, life changing results and enjoy doing it!

Our Clients

  • Children and adults with special needs
  • First responders including Police Officers, Firefighters, and Veterans

Our Approach

Equine-assisted therapy combines a level of equestrian activities and philosophies with the treatment of physical and mental health issues. It dates back thousands of years to the ancient Greeks, who wrote of the benefits of horse riding.  In a small 2015 study published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress, researchers found that equine-assisted therapy reduced riders’ anxiety and helped them recover more quickly from a traumatic event.  Therapeutic riding incorporates exercise, confidence building, and emotional well-being techniques. Additional benefits include improved focus and attention span, balance, behavior, coordination, verbal and communication skills, listening skills, fine and gross motor skills, core strength and quality of life.

  • Therapy focuses on early intervention techniques, therapeutic riding, independent riding, groundwork and natural horsemanship techniques. Each rider receives individual development targeted to their specific needs
  • Various interactive learning techniques are utilized to keep attention and engagement
  • Safety and care of each rider, volunteer and horse is paramount
  • Continuous improvement programs for volunteers, horses, equipment and facilities
  • Therapeutic Instructors are PATH Certified and Kids Rein is a PATH Center Member (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship)
  • Our teaching approach involves the use and implementation of different teaching methodologies including behavioral analysis, physical cognitive learning, social play, communication and sensory integration skills.


Teressa Tucker

  • Founder and Executive Director
  • Participant Coordinator
  • PATH Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor
  • Special Olympics Coach

Teressa is a PATH Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International) and is fully qualified, experienced, and passionately dedicated to children with special needs, as she herself has a son with Autism. Teressa was a PATH Region 3 Representative overseeing the states of West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina from 2006-2008.

Phyllis Smeaton

  • Co-Founder
  • PATH Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor

Phyllis (Co-Founder) is a Critical Care Registered Nurse at Novant Health Huntersville Medical Center and is a PATH Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International).  Phyllis has many years of medical and horse experience and is a great asset to any therapeutic riding program!  She has a special working relationship with the children and horses.

James Contrino

  • Operations Manager
  • Farm Owner

James started volunteering for Kids Rein in 2014. In 2017, Adam and James purchased Pattrino Farms with the intent of providing Kids Rein a forever home. James works in uptown Charlotte for a large financial institution as a Senior Execution Lead in Financial Crimes.

Adam Patton

  • Sponsorship Coordinator
  • Farm Owner
  • PATH Certified Riding Instructor
  • Special Olympics Coach

Adam started volunteering for Kids Rein in 2014. In 2017, Adam and James purchased Pattrino Farms with the intent of providing Kids Rein a forever home. Adam works for a large financial institution as an executive in Ops Resiliency.

John di Zerega

  • Volunteer Coordinator
  • Special Olympics Coach

John started volunteering for Kids Rein in 2018.  He has derived an immense satisfaction in working with the participants.  He works for a large financial institution as an executive in Change Management.

Edie Fletcher

  • Special Advisor to the Board

Edie started volunteering for Kids Rein in 2018.  She is a former Chairman for Dress for Success. She works in Anti Money Laundering for a large financial institution.


  • Breed: Tennessee Walker
  • DOB: 2001
  • Color: Chestnut
  • Height: 15.1 hands
  • Gender: Gelding

Chance is a striking 15.1 hand Tennessee Walker gelding with a rich chestnut coat.   With his graceful gait, commanding presence Chance has earned his place as alpha of the herd. Chance has been with Kids Rein since 2010, is often the “first horse,” for many of our riders.   His size is perfect for all our riders young and old, large and small.  Chance is a remarkable horse, always willing to take on new challenges with unwavering determination.

  • Breed: Spotted Draft
  • DOB: 2005
  • Color: Chestnut
  • Height: 16.2 hands
  • Gender: Mare

Molly is a magnificent 16.2 hand Spotted Draft mare with a coat adorned with an array of unique and beautiful spots.  Her story is one of resilience and transformation as she was rescued from an abusive situation in 2017.  Many hours have been spent retraining Molly, most of the hours spent building trust. She has blossomed into a gentle giant and is the perfect partner for our larger riders.

  • Breed: Missouri Fox Trotter
  • DOB: 2020
  • Color: Brown Roan
  • Height: 15.2 hands
  • Gender: Gelding

Jameson is a young and promising equine adopted from Heart of Phoenix Horse Rescue in Aug 2023. With his unique brown roan coat, Jameson stands out not only for his appearance but his potential as a therapy horse. He is already showing a remarkable aptitude for understanding and connecting with individuals who will benefit from equine therapy. Jameson’s youthful energy and willingness to learn are matched by his gentle nature, making him the perfect candidate to assist those seeking healing and growth. We look forward to his future!