The mission of Hope thru Hooves is to provide a foundation of experiential services using the power of the horse to facilitate learning, growth and healing. Utilizing the unique strength and power of the horse and it’s herd dynamics; our goal is to educate, mentor, empower and strengthen relationship/life skills in people of all ages. Individuals, families, groups and organizations can all benefit from our equine assisted activities.
Our story starts with our co-founder’s love of horses and kids. In 2013, while working as a special education teacher in an elementary school behavior support program Mrs. Warner realized the kids she was trying to teach weren’t coming to school ready to learn, but to find emotional safety, love and attention.
ADHD, Autism, ODD, RAD, OCD….you name it, they all had some diagnosis being used to define them or give reason for their extreme negative behaviors. Parent and teachers alike were at a loss for what to do for these kids. The answer was to place the most extreme kids in a remote classroom and hope for the best. There didn’t seem to be a plan to help them overcome their struggles and control their behavior.
The main objective of the staff of the behavior program was to manage the children and teach the reading and writing if you can. This “keep them calm and move them on” attitude wasn’t acceptable to Mrs. Warner or her staff. The wheels began to turn and while talking with Mr. Warner about her frustration, the comment was made, “too bad they don’t all have a horse to hug”. That was the idea that spurred the Warner’s to become certified Equine Assisted Learning and Psychotherapy facilitators, and Hope thru Hooves was born.
Once certified the Warner’s approached the school district administration with the idea of implementing a school based equine assisted learning program that would teach character skills and combine academics and horses in an attempt to make a difference in the lives of these children. The school district agreed.
Since that first group of kids went through the program we have seen children gaining skills and self-confidence, enabling them to return successfully to their general education classroom. We have seen families work through issues and come out stronger and still intact all through the experience of interacting with the horses and participating in facilitated equine assisted activities that bring out truth, require self-reflection and build skills that are critical to the ability to people connect.
We now have programs for individuals and groups of all ages. We will be piloting a Veteran’s Re-Integration and Health program, an Empowerment program for women and a Leadership Development program for youth during the last quarter of 2017 and first part of 2018. By the close of 2018 we intend to have the beginnings of a therapeutic riding program as well.