Stacey's Story

Stacey Johnson began riding at Equest in junior high. Stacey's mother, Martha Johnson, who is also Equest's Director of Finance, was trying to find an activity Stacey could participate in.

In 1999 Stacey had to have a major surgery to remove part of her skull that was compressing her brain. Before her surgery, the Johnsons had moved to San Antonio. After the surgery, Stacey was unable to sit up, walk, or care for herself. Martha reflects on the troubling news relayed to her through Stacey's doctors.

They told us they didn’t think she would ever walk again. I could not find a therapeutic riding center in San Antonio like Equest, so [after her surgery] we started flying her back for therapy... She flew back twice a week and stayed with her sister.
— Martha Johnson

One day Martha received a most extraordinary call from Equest.

They said Stacey jumped! I had to sit down because I sent her on the plane in a wheelchair.
— Martha Johnson

In 2003, Stacey was named the PATH International Adult Rider of the Year, and was nominated by Special Olympics to go to the World Games in Dublin, Ireland. She took home gold and bronze medals for the United States. Stacey is also the President of the Athlete Leadership Program, a member of the Special Olympics Torch Run Officers, and Global Messenger who travels the country raising money to support other riders who aspire the high levels of achievement.

Stacey at the Special Olympics World Games in Dublin, Ireland

Stacey at the Special Olympics World Games in Dublin, Ireland

In 2012, Stacey became the first rider to ever win AQHA High Point Awards in four divisions for Equestrians with Disabilities! The four divisions are: Hunt Seat Equitation, Trail, Advanced Showmanship, and Western Horsemanship.

Stacey's significant and numerous awards suggest that there is no stopping her. Her smiling face does not reveal how hard she works to overcome her own personal challenges, as she does with such grace and positivity. 

Stacey’s well-being is due to the horses. I contribute it all to the horses and to Equest.
— Martha Johnson

Stacey's story appeared in Equest's 2012-13 Annual Report

CJ Bankhead