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By Lauren Wong

Ponies and swimming? Someone please tell me a better summer combo. Happy Hooves has just announced a new experience called, Magical Moments with Miniature Horses at the Lake. If you’ve read my blog posts before, you’d know I’m a huge fan of this non-profit run by Jesse Pekarek, but if you haven’t, here’s a bit of information about what he does. 

Happy Hooves is a nonprofit organization that gives animals a second chance at a better life. His animals have been saved from all over the world, and have become this adorable, loving, herd of donkeys, miniature horses, horses, alpacas, sheep, and cows. Everything they do is centered around the one mission of providing animal assisted therapy and activities for those in need.

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Now, in addition to their “Embracing Unconditional Love of Animals,” experience, they’ll be taking their mini horses to Lake Pleasant for a little dip!

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You’ll arrive at the farm, follow his van over to Scorpion Bay at Lake Pleasant (45 minute drive), and spend about an hour and a half wading in the water with the horses. For $300 a group, you’ll get to enjoy the beautiful, mountainous panoramic views at Lake Pleasant alongside the ponies. You’ll also get some snacks and water! 

“Imagine stepping into a children’s fantasy book, the experience is magical,” Pekarek says. “Wading into gorgeous Lake Pleasant with our sweet and adorable miniature horses, you will experience our little piece of heaven!”


Personally, I am not a strong swimmer, but you don’t have to worry about that; the experience is perfect for all ages. The water you go in is very shallow, and the horses (when holding their leash and harness) are very gentle. They may swim over to each other, splash around a bit, etc., but they won’t be pulling you out to deeper water.

It’s so hard to find new, exciting things to do in Arizona during the summer since it’s just too hot to do anything, so when I heard about this new experience, I jumped at the opportunity to join in. When you go Salt River Tubing in Mesa, you have the chance to see wild horses, and with Happy Hooves, you get to interact and actually swim with them.


Their favorite time to go is when other horses are out on the lake too, so you can always contact Jesse to see if there’s a certain day he knows when others will be there. Save yourself some money on the insane price of gas right now, and book your guest house stay on the farm at the same time as your experience. 

Hang back, enjoy a night on the farm playing games (he’s got tons of options) and watching the animals in action, before waking up to head on over to the lake. 

“Swimming with the ponies was such a unique way to escape the heat! Being able to cool off at the lake while connecting with such magical animals was an extraordinary experience,” my friend Kalika shares.

If I had to pick my favorite part of the excursion, I’d say feeling like I was getting my horse so clean, petting him in the water. That is, until heading back to the van where he rolled around in every pile of dirt in sight.


“As far as my passion, sharing the joy and experiences of these magnificent animals is incredibly rewarding and purposeful for me,” Pekarek says. “I love being able to use my creative side, putting together exciting activities for others to immerse themselves in a whole different world.”  

I wholeheartedly feel that there is something so powerful and healing about nature, and being around loving animals. So, whether you’re just looking for a fun-filled morning, or are in need of a break from your everyday stressors, it truly is an uplifting (and unforgettable) hour and a half.

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There isn’t anyone who can say this better than Pekarek himself. “People need these kinds of experiences, more than they may realize. Being the conduit and facilitating the interaction of love between humans and animals brings me the utmost joy.”

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For more information, and to book your experience, visit their experience page.