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Hooves with HEART and all its wonderful volunteers have a very special place in our hearts! Horses have always been a part of our son, Mason’s life. He started hippotherapy at 17 months old (before he was walking independently). Thanks to Hooves, Mason continues to improve his riding skills and become a more knowledgeable, confident and independent rider. In addition to riding, and as meaningful to Mason is the time he spends interacting with the amazing volunteers while learning from them and helping take care of the animals and the barn. Thank you for your dedication, your big hearts and for giving so selflessly!

Laura and AJ

Our son, Austin, was diagnosed with autism at the age of 7. Although he was considered high functioning on the autism spectrum, he had great difficulty socializing and communicating with others. He went through therapeutic services at school and was also a participant in therapeutic horseback riding for many years where he did make some strides but was still quite awkward in terms of socializing. He would not make eye contact with people and was very shy and backward. In social situations he generally tried to blend into the background. Then about a year and a half ago, we got connected to Hooves with Heart, which has been nothing short of a miracle for Austin. Things have changed drastically. Our shy son is not shy when he enters the barn. Now at 21 years old he is quick to strike up a chat with others at the barn. He even coaches other volunteers! He has grown so much! The changes are remarkable. This is because the program allows him to not only participate in therapeutic horseback riding, but also to interact with the horses through preparing their feed, walking them, grooming them, and just interacting one on one.  He loves to go to the barn and willingly spends his free time to clean stalls and the pastures. He has developed relationships with the horses and has improved his social skills. He loves it so much that he even convinced the program director to allow him access to the security cameras so he could watch over the horses from home. A couple of the horses gravitate toward him and will follow him around. He can be seen easily bonding with the horses and communicating with the program staff and volunteers. When he had a job interview coming up, he even went as far as to discuss his anxiety and concerns with them. They coached him on what to say and how to dress for the interview and ended up acing the interview.

The Fords

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