Like humans, horses are social animals who have a distinct hierarchy of roles. They are motivated primarily by survival as are many of our clients. Because horses are bigger than humans, respect happens naturally and boundaries and limits are illuminated. Horses offer immediate feedback about behavior, give non-verbal consequences, are forgiving and offer second chances. Through the feedback provided by the horse, participants also develop an understanding of how their behavior affects others. In many cases the horse acts as a mirror or magnifying lens, helping to focus on the issues clients bring to the session. Issues that arise during sessions are used as metaphors and linked with the larger ongoing issues within the client’s life to promote growth and change.
Mariah and Jenny were the first to join the Healing Hooves Herd. Supple to work with, Mariah brings a cautious readiness to her work with clients. Mariah knows what it is like to not have a voice; watching her find her way back to expression has been rewarding. Mariah often reminds the others in her herd that she requires respectful interactions.
Jenny was donated along with Mariah. Having lived together for many years Mariah and Jenny have a dynamic relationship and a very developed bond. Jenny, our smallest equine, carries the largest attitude. Jenny prefers smaller handlers and is extremely good at asking for what she needs. Boundaries are very important to Jenny. She is happiest when pulling a cart and rolling on hay when turned out.
BREED: Quarter Horse
Hank came to our program from a loving home that had two very small children that enjoyed his company. He was loved very much but the time needed to care for his small friends and himself was too short, his owner listed him for re-homing. When we met him we knew he would be a loving cautious addition to our herd and we are delighted to have him. Hank enjoys teaching Goldie about equine friendships, trail rides, games and learning new things. Hank is happiest when being loved on, turned out in the cool weather and eating carrots.
Harley is our mid-sized pony mare. She is the youngest of our herd and is still finding her way in the world. Harley has made tremendous progress since arriving at Healing Hooves. When she arrived she would not eat carrots, only store bought treats and was nervous about most everything. Despite Harley’s nerves she has shown great courage as she tries her very best to rise to any task and to do so with the care of her rider in mind. It has taken Harley some time but she has finally begun to express her own needs for space in the herd. Now she enjoys carrots, being groomed and carrying small riders.
BREED: Hanoverian German Warmblood
Goldie is our most senior member. She was generously care leased to our program by Erinwood Sporthorses. Goldie is a retired USEF champion show jumper with a delightful personality and much patience. Goldie has had a long career of carrying young riders. Despite her large size she is the most gentle and forgiving equine in our herd. Her life as a show horse demanded many moves and varied environments; we are so glad to be able to provide purposeful and respectful retirement. She has, for most likely the first time in her life, the opportunity to make deep horse friendships and understand what it is like to be in a herd that accepts and loves her. Courageously Goldie is learning what it is like to be a part of a steady herd.