Kelly Jones, owner and founder of Ponderosita Ranch, home of South Wind Equestrian Center and Unbridled Connection, found this beautiful oasis tucked in the Texas Hill Country in 1999. Kelly experienced her first horse as a 2- year old on her great grandfather’s farm outside Fort Worth and as soon as she could, began working at a stable, earning riding lessons. After graduating from Texas Tech University with a degree in Marketing, and enjoying the corporate life for several years, Kelly moved to the Austin area and discovered Ponderosita Ranch. Having been a city girl most of her life, it was certainly a learning experience!
In 2004 Kelly opened a riding lesson program and over the years noticed that there was so much more to these beautiful sentient beings, than simply a vessel to ride on. Her clients experienced not only the joy of learning to ride, but also the joy of relationship and connection. In 2013 Kelly decided to devote herself full time to the ranch and developed an equine focused program in which humans learned amazing principles about themselves along with their knowledge of horses.
Today Kelly is a equine professional, specializing in relationship work with horses and humans, focusing on bringing attunement both to self and to others through allowing the horses to teach and guide us through re-connecting with personal power and instinct. Horses teach us so much about relationships, leadership, staying present in conflict, healthy boundaries, paying attention to non-verbal cues, tuning into whether we are present, how to control our emotions and not let them control us, learning that our emotions can be a state and not become a trait and how to value each member of the herd for their invaluable role.
Kelly serves as an Equine Professional on multiple therapy teams utilizing the Natural Lifemanship modality of trauma-focused equine assisted psychotherapy with over 800 hours of working with clients in a therapy team, a riding instructor for 18 years, having attended multiple clinics and workshops for dressage and bio-mechanics, and has owned and managed South Wind Equestrian Center and Ponderosita Ranch since 1999. Kelly also works with clients one-on-one in equine-assisted learning and coaching and is an expert on horse behavior. She loves working with horses and people and leaving a legacy of life-change that will affect generations in our community.
Brent Shives, Co-Owner of Unbridled Connection, Facility Manager and equine professional trained in the Natural Lifemanship model , brings to the ranch a passion for people and animals. Brent entered the work force and worked his way up to Operations Manager of a major downtown hotel in Austin, Texas. After a terrible motorcycle accident, Brent decided to make a life change and resigned his position to pursue legacy work. He happened upon South Wind Equestrian Center in January of 2016, fell in love with the ranch and horses, and decided to make this his life’s work. Having attended Natural Lifemanship training, he decided to use his compassion and discernment, to help people heal from the affects of trauma in their lives, by working side by side with licensed professional counselors in a therapy team. His natural ability to manage facilities and people makes him a valuable addition to the ranch as well, currently partnering with Kelly to help the ranch grow by purchasing the adjacent acreage and serving as Facilities Manager and co-owner. Brent offers leadership development, team building and personal empowerment opportunities along with mentoring in our natural setting with and without horses.
Testimonials for South Wind Equestrian Center:
Absolutely the best decision we have ever made. We love South Wind Equestrian Center and look forward to many more adventures ahead. – Wendy J
Such a peaceful place & very thoughtfully run. Kelly is wonderful – Crystal M
Such a great place. My daughter loves it!!!! Kelly is awesome with her and she has learned so much. – Kim C
I have kept Glitter at South Wind for the past year. Kelly has always been so helpful and is always there when ever we need anything! Glitter has been super happy there. Her place is always clean and well maintained. She really cares about her boarders and their horses. I highly recommend South Wind if you are looking for lessons or a place to board your horse or both. – Dai W
Kelly helped save our sweet Pistol's life. Shortly after we adopted him we found out that he had Cushings disease. We have struggled to keep weight on him and keep him sound. Kelly helped us come up with a management plan for his health and treated him like her own when we couldn't be there. Thank you Kelly and everyone at South Wind!! – Haylee P
My daughter has taken lessons here for a couple years and really enjoys it. Kelly is very patient, understanding and can turn everything into a learning experience or teaching moment for kids who need a little help with executive functioning skills. She meets you right where you are in the learning process and helps you meet needs you might have. Sometimes what you need is not always just to learn to ride a horse. We've appreciated this outlet for our daughter as a way to encourage the outdoors, learn new skills and build character and confidence. – Jill N
Kelly is a wonderful person, trainer, and instructor. She really cares about the people and horses. She's been working on training me and has given a lesson to my 6 year old granddaughter so she's great with all ages. The horses have a great place to stay. They all seem really happy. – Kristina V
Great place to board your 4 legged babies!! Staff is amazing and very caring. We were very blessed to find Kelly during our transition to the area. – Sharon E
Aly love, love, loved camp at South Wind Equestrian. She has a new passion for horses and we were so happy with her experience. – Dawn B
I have boarded my horses here for over 10 years, and have always received the best of care for them. This place is peaceful & relaxing for horses and clients alike. It is professionally run and a drama free horse facility where clients are encouraged to build long lasting relationships with their horses, and often find healing for themselves in the process. – Kelley H
Welcoming, peaceful, professional. Always a wonderful visit; my kids love riding here and the care SWEC gives the horses is top notch. – Molly E
South Wind Equestrian Center
Building Relationships both Horse and Human