Since its founding in 2007, Little Hooves & Big Hearts has been helping seniors and children with special needs get to a better place in their lives, both physically and emotionally, through interaction with our specially trained miniature horses. The success that we’ve had with our clients is consistent with a growing body of evidence showing that equine-assisted therapeutic programs can be a highly effective treatment option for many individuals with physical impairments or cognitive disabilities. According to the Institute of Equestrian Therapy, “Major improvements have been observed with cerebral palsy, mentally retarded, autistic, emotionally disturbed, learning disabled, stroke and accident victims.” Equine-assisted therapeutic programs can also be of great benefit to seniors confined to nursing homes, assisted living centers or hospices, especially if they suffer from dementia or all-too-common feelings of loneliness and dependency.
LHBH’s various interactive therapeutic programs, whether they involve petting, grooming, walking, driving or simply observing our minis, share some or all of the following objectives: Giving clients an improved sense of physical and emotional well-being; increasing muscle strength, joint mobility, balance and coordination; improving communication and perceptual skills; building self-confidence and trust; and fostering stronger connections to the outside world and to other people.
For individuals able to visit LHBH’s facilities in Oracle, the therapeutic process typically begins with a client assessment conducted by one of our equine-assisted facilitators, who will structure an initial program of activities tailored to the client’s needs and abilities. Depending on the individual’s progress, the activities program may be modified along the way, and at each step of the process, we go to great lengths to ensure the physical safety and emotional security of each client. To schedule an appointment with one of our equine facilitators, please click here.