Dusty's Riders is a 501(c)(3) public charity and was founded in 2000 by Jessica (Crawford) Hight and Sarah (Crawford) Williams to help at-risk kids in the Los Angeles area look beyond their current surroundings and open their minds to dream for a better future.
We began with one Saturday outing a month working with one Boys & Girls Club and have grown to outings every Saturday except long weeks and Tuesday outings during summer. Currently, we work with seven clubs Boys & Girls Clubs (Burbank, East Valley, Ramona Gardens, San Fernando Valley, Variety (in East LA), Watts-Willowbrook and West San Gabriel Valley, as well as The Dream Center, Helpline Youth Counseling, “I Have a Dream” Foundation LA (Watts and Inglewood locations) and Vaughn Next Century Learning Center. Our outings include the original Saturday outing, Rancho Oso overnight outings in Santa Barbara and combined group day trips to Rancho Oso.
Board of Directors
Jessica Hight, Chairman of the Board
Sarah Williams, Vice-Chairman and CEO
Ray Williams, CFO and Board Treasurer
Michelle Smith, Board Secretary (& Corp Sec)
Sarah has loved horses since she was a little girl, but hadn't ridden much until 1999 when she went on a pleasure ride with co-workers at Disney Feature Animation. That ride changed the course of her life. She immediately started taking riding lessons to be on a horse once a week. That's where she met Dusty. Soon, he was hers. Shortly thereafter while praying, God led her to start this program. She told Jessica, her sister, and they started planning. Now, they're fully committed to use horses and nature to make a difference and help at-risk kids gain confidence and learn to make better choices in their lives. They hope to help these kids not only dream for a better future, but take positive steps to make that a reality.
Jessica obtained her Bachelor's degree of Science in Business Management from the University of Phoenix. Ever since she was a little girl, she has had a love for animals and fascination with the healing effect animals have on people. The way an animal can coax a smile and a giggle from a child or bring companionship to a lonely soul tugs at her heart. When her sister approached her with the idea of Dusty's Riders, she knew this was a great opportunity to positively impact children's lives and to see the magical interaction between horses and children. Through God's love and direction, they hope to provide children with a valuable experience that is both educational and rewarding.
Dusty is a 32 year-old, 15.2 hands, 1,000 pound Appaloosa gelding. His resume ranges from barrel racing to being a lesson horse for six year olds. With his short tail and mane and his arrowhead markings, he's definitely an Indian horse. Dusty is extremely smart and mischievous. His favorite treats are watermelon, pumpkin and almost any berry, but he's never passed up an apple or carrot. It's hard to tell who enjoys the outings more . . . Dusty or the kids. They love him, and he loves them and all the attention. He's patient, gentle and never takes his eyes off them. He has a great sense of who's around and what they can handle and knows who's a little afraid and who needs a little extra attention. He can't wait for them to arrive and hates to see them leave. Unfortunately, his arthritis is progressing, but the old man still loves it when the kids arrive.
We were lucky and thrilled to have Luke, an eight year old Quarter/Thoroughbred mix, join the family in April 2015. He is currently learning the ropes from Dusty. Luke has a big heart and is very smart…quickly learning how to hand twelve kids at a time. He takes carrots gently, already leads like a champ, and is patient during grooming. Our future is bright now.