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Rhythms of Grace — Hope + Healing Through Equine-Assisted Services

Rhythms of Grace

January 11, 2023

The nonprofit 501(c)(3) Rhythms of Grace, located in Dallas Center, Iowa began with a dream of using horses to help people. It was founded with a vision of serving others, especially those who have special needs, be it physical or mental. Children and adults who may spend much of their life in clinics or medical facilities have an opportunity to connect with our amazing horses and receive valuable physical and mental benefits which is changing lives. They achieve success and well-deserved happiness in a warm and supportive environment. We serve children and their families and adults to help them achieve their goals and dreams and an unforced rhythm of grace.  Rhythms of Grace Logo

Equine Assisted Services 

Equine Assisted Services are beneficial to all ages of participants with special physical, cognitive, sensory, learning, social and/or emotional needs. Therapeutic riding lessons are taught by Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) Certified Instructors in a safe, natural outdoor setting providing appropriate sensory input and a healthy environment. 

Goals are developed and skills are taught to carry over into the daily lives of participants. Equine-Assisted Services are offered by Rhythms of Grace professionals who partner with horses to help people via three different programs: Horsemanship, Learning and Therapy.   


Therapeutic riding builds strength and confidence. Riders develop independence, empathy, safety, decision-making and a variety of cognitive, physical, emotional and social skills that impact their daily lives through customized lesson plans. It’s beneficial to individuals and groups with a variety of special needs, conditions, diagnosis and/or disabilities.    


Equine-assisted learning is useful for education. Participants learn general equine knowledge, horse behavior, communication, empathy and other social skills by interacting with horses from the ground. The horse helps teach relationship life skills such as trust, respect, honesty and communication. This is offered to groups and individuals and is often incorporated directly into horsemanship lessons.   


Licensed therapists use equines to support counseling, occupational and physical therapy, speech-language pathology and psychotherapy. Specific therapies, treatments or interventions may incorporate horse movement or the horse’s environment to address medical, cognitive or behavioral health conditions as part of the individualized plan of care.   

Rhythms of Grace Gala 2023 

The annual gala will be held at the beautiful Country Lane Lodge near Adel. It’s an inspiring evening to come together to celebrate and support our mission of improving lives through therapeutic horse-related programs. The event is full of heart-touching stories, delicious food and drinks, great company, enjoyable entertaining activities and opportunities to raise funds in support of the Rhythms of Grace therapeutic riding and therapy programs.   

Visit Rhythms of Grace to purchase general admission tickets or reserve your sponsorship.

Volunteer Opportunities 

Volunteers are the heart of Rhythms of Grace willingly donating their time, talent and treasure to see the smiles and daily accomplishments of their riders and care for the horses that carry them. We have numerous volunteer opportunities available including lesson volunteers, event and fundraising support and grounds/equipment maintenance. Volunteers must be 14 years of age or older and must pass the orientation training session.


Rhythms of Grace is a (501(c)3) non-profit charitable organization and all gifts are tax-deductible as allowed by law. There are multiple ways to give including United Way of Central Iowa’s Donor-Directed Contributions and we even have an Amazon Wish List with items for our horses and things to help our riders with their therapy.   

Rhythms of Grace, a non-profit supported by McGill Junge Wealth Management, an Investor of the Greater Des Moines Partnership.    

Improving the Greater Des Moines (DSM) community through volunteering and community service is a priority for many. Thanks to community engagement opportunities and leadership connecting local businesses to causes that provide services to improve the region, DSM continues to be a place that provides support for those who live, work and play here. 

Dawn Carlson

Dawn Carlson is Founder and CEO of Rhythms of Grace, a nonprofit therapeutic riding center for persons with special needs and/or disabilities. She brings her deepest passion of faith, family and community to life where she uses horses to serve others as a PATH International Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor.