"A lovely horse is always an experience.... It is an emotional experience of the kind that is spoiled by words." Beryl Markhama
Welcome to Hooves for the Heart, LLC! We offer an Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA) Program where volunteers can learn AAA activities through volunteering. Our program provides opportunities for motivational, educational and/or recreational benefits to enhance a person’s quality of life. AAA are delivered by professionals, para-professionals or volunteers who demonstrate knowledge about animals and the human populations with which they interact

Benefits of our AAA program are learning to provide motivational, educational and recreational interactions that enhance people’s quality of life. In one setting, trained volunteers can help children express their feelings while riding a horse. AAA can help teach children in special-education classrooms important life skills and facilitates counseling sessions in mental health centers. Adopted children with special needs, children in foster care or the social system, homeless shelters, residential facilities, foster homes and youth programs are some groups that also benefit from AAA.

Hooves for the Heart, LLC is a place for learning, playing, growing and nurturing. It’s a place for people like you, that love horses and want to work with ‘high-risk’ youth using non-violent, compassionate techniques. Our progressive program can produce spectacular results with children suffering from Tourette’s Syndrome, Autism, Bi-polar Disorder, Attention Deficit (Hyperactive) Disorder, Asperger’s, Reactive Attachment Disorder, low self-esteem, sexual misconduct and attachment issues to name a few.

Volunteers work at developing both a general understanding of animal behavior and specific understanding of the personalities of each of our clients. Horses live in an efficient society and almost all of their behaviors mean something to the other members in their social group. We must understand how to recognize their signals and the meaning behind them. Until then, we do them a disservice by attempting to be the leader of their group.
Volunteers with Horses
After learning the various body postures and their meanings, volunteers attempt to decipher the individual personalities of each animal. There will always be one with eccentricities that we should be sensitive to. As long as the animal’s behavior is relatively predictable, rational and not unduly harsh, we should allow them to express themselves freely amongst one another. With that said, we don’t tolerate horses being rude or pushy!

Eligibility requirements for Volunteers include experience with horses and/or our population of children. Equestrians that are advanced in skill may ride and school the horses as seen by program staff. Otherwise volunteers may do the activities in which they’ve been trained.

To get started, please go to our Volunteer Registration and Release Form.

Download our Volunteer Handbook.

If you have any questions please contact Terena Thomas, CEIP-ED. 970.524.8724 or by email at terena@hoovesfortheheart.org.
Volunteer with Horse