Standing Ovation: Stable Space Connects Indianapolis Youth to Horses

Kathleen Ford of Stable Space, LLC believes that “horses have the potential to change us from the inside out.” Therefore, she works to unlock that potential by offering equine-assisted learning in her Indianapolis, Indiana neighborhood. 

Like many of us, Kathleen Ford loves horses – she was introduced to the equine world by her mother, who didn’t have consistent access to horses until adulthood. She wanted to share that love with others, believing that “horses have the potential to change us from the inside out.” Enter Stable Space, LLC – an organization Ford established in 2021 with a pilot program, Horse Powered Summer. Horse Powered Summer was a collaboration between Ford and the community center in her Indianapolis, Indiana neighborhood. “It was a success,” Ford shared, “and affirmed for me that the community is eager for opportunities to interact with animals.”

Following the success of Horse Powered Summer, Ford laid groundwork for Stable Space, but took a nearly two-year hiatus while pregnant with her daughter. Stable Space started by offering day camp style programs during school breaks – these camps give children the opportunity to visit a farm environment, spend time in nature and spend time with horses. “We’re an equine-assisted learning business,” Ford explained, “so almost all activities take place on the ground with horses,” with no riding, currently. Every activity has a purpose relating to personal well-being and social-emotional health. These “help participants access feelings of empowerment, pride and purpose,” Ford noted, as well as increasing participants’ self-esteem and boosting their connection to nature and animals. So far, Ford has said children and their parents have loved their experience with Stable Space and requested more programs: “They’re open-hearted and excited to learn about and bond with the horses,” she shared. “Some participants have never been near a horse. They walk away with new knowledge about the animals and themselves.”

Stable Space Indianapolis Stable Sisters camp participants, October 2023. Photo courtesy of Stable Space Indianapolis.

Stable Space focuses on equine assisted learning, which, Ford emphasized, “is not a riding lesson, trail ride or pony ride. It’s an intentional, evidence-based practice that heals and empowers people. In that same vein, horses are not a tool or a pet, they are sentient beings and co-facilitators of equine-assisted learning. Horses communicate to us perfectly, and if we treat them right and are open to hearing them, we can learn truths that transform us.” Ford feels that it’s an “exciting time” to be in the field of equine assisted learning, which she says is “young but rapidly growing and gaining credibility.

For Ford, the most rewarding element of launching Stable Space is seeing the joy and curiosity from people interacting with horses for the first time. “When cared for properly, horses bring forth authentic energy, offer honest feedback, and hold an exceptional ability to self-regulate,” she noted. “To have a front row view of horses effortlessly changing peoples’ lives is quite the honor!”

Photo courtesy of Stable Space Indianapolis.

Stable Space, LLC’s programs currently are done in partnership with Indianapolis-area equestrian facilities. Ford shared that with the facilities they work with, she’s seen those in the equestrian community who are invested in diversity, equity and inclusion “coming out of the woodwork and joining together” to make horses more accessible by collaborating with Stable Space. Short term, Ford said her goal is, “to partner with local nonprofits to expand access to equine-assisted learning programs with no out-of-pocket cost to families.” Long term, she wants to “activate a community of equestrians and community partners to establish a permanent, urban equine facility.” Currently, Stable Space is looking ahead to their Spring Break camp and a community event they’re planning at a park in urban Indianapolis this summer. Stable Space can be found online at and on social media @stablespaceindy on Instagram and Facebook.

Here at Horse Nation we love to recognize individuals and organizations that are doing good work in the horse world. If you know someone who deserves a Standing Ovation, we would love to recognize them in a future post. Email the name of the person or organization along with a message about the good work they do to [email protected]. Photos/videos are always welcome, and include a link to their website if applicable.