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  • Writer's pictureGo Gaston!

Welcome to Shining Hope Farms in Mount Holly

Founded in 2002 by Paul and Milinda Kirkpatrick, Shining Hope Farms meets the needs of the community to provide therapeutic services in an enriching farm environment to improve the quality of life of the participants and their families. Their clients find wellness, strength, and hope on the back of a horse.

Shining Hope Farms’ programs are structured to serve individuals and groups with a variety of disabilities such as Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Down’s Syndrome, Developmental Disabilities, Brain Injuries, Hypotomia, and the like.

Humble beginnings

Founder and Executive Director Milinda Kirkpatrick’s life experience seemed to unknowingly prepare her for Starting Shining Hope Farms long before it was a reality. Growing up she owned a horse, which she used for delivering newspapers in Charlotte. She also had a Dad and later on a nephew with disabilities.

When her children were small they became interested in horses and they ended up volunteering at a Charlotte nonprofit that was considering offering therapeutic horseback riding. Despite the fact that she was previously unfamiliar with therapeutic riding, she felt her life experiences leading up to this point had prepared her to help this type of program get started.

After becoming a certified riding instructor through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Riding, Intl., she started a pilot program and was astounded with the results. Unfortunately, not too long after the pilot program took off, the founders of the nonprofit, moved its location forcing her to shut its doors.

Not wanting to abandon the families in the program, Milinda and her family put their Charlotte home on the market to find an equestrian site where they could found a new nonprofit, and eventually purchased an old farm in Mount Holly.

Shining Hope Farms, was incorporated in 2002 and over the first few years the Kirkpatrick family worked tirelessly to renovate the property. They were encouraged by the fact that the Gaston County community welcomed them with opened arms, evident through physical and monetary help that they received including grants and contributions from the Community Foundation of Gaston County, the Glenn Foundation, churches, businesses, individuals, schools, colleges, and civic organizations.


Therapy Services include rehabilitative services of occupational, physical, and speech therapy as well as mental health counseling. In both of these services a specially selected horse is often incorporated as a treatment modality to help patients reach their goals, a strategy called hippotherapy.

Shining Hope Farms also partners with Bit of Hope Ranch in Gastonia by providing occupational therapy services at their location.

3 Locations

Mount Holly:

328 Whippoorwill Lane, Mt Holly, NC, 28120 Where the nonprofit first started! This property features an indoor arena, two outdoor arenas, sensory trail and indoor clinic space. It also is the home to the main offices.


3701 Kidd Lane, Charlotte, NC, 28216 The Charlotte property features an indoor and outdoor arena, indoor clinic space, and a growing sensory trail!


6347 St. Peter’s Church Road, Conover, NC 28613

Our newest location features many acres to enjoy by Shining Hope Farm participants! It includes a spacious indoor area, outdoor arena, clinic space, and brand new sensory trails.


Shining Hope Farms

328 Whippoorwill Lane, Mt Holly, NC, 28120 704-827-3788 | website

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