lots of love...
From a volunteer who was in foster care after losing her mother:
My mom passed away December 30th, 2011. I took it really hard she was my best friend, my mother,
and my consultant. I came to her for everything. After she passed I started ticking (she had facial and
head movement she could not control). I only tick when I am stressed so it took effect on me. I started
riding again (at Hooves) and loved it. One horse in particular, Shamrock, helped me through. For the
first time after my mom died I felt like me. I stopped ticking the day of. I love volunteering. I think that
Hooves for Harmony is a great service to disabled kids. I love Hooves and I hope you will too.
From parents in Redding:
I have been attending Hooves for Harmony for roughly six months now. I attend as a volunteer and all
my foster children also go as therapeutic recipients. As a profession my wife and I are both nurses along
with being foster parents, we have a developmentally delayed son who is also diagnosed with ADHD,
and our other children have been removed from their parents for physical abuse. Since my wife and I
have started going to Hooves for Harmony, we have noticed that our son with ADHD has calmed down
to extremes beyond belief and our other son who was very angry has become quite loving. It too has
helped me in that I can go out there and just bond with the children and animals. Watching our son
thrive in this atmosphere, while not costing a dime in return, that’s right this program is helping children
while not costing the parents anything, is simply a gift from God. I accredit Hooves for Harmony with
the therapy that my children need. Without it, I truly believe that my wife and I would still struggle with
our children. Thank you and I would like to invite you to come out and see for yourself all the positive
smiles and personalities that come from Hooves for Harmony.
From the mom of a previous rider:
My son has Cerebral Palsy. He had problems with his balance and was scared to death of heights when we heard of Hooves for Harmony. I checked into it and what I found out was short of a miracle. There was no fee for the program. He learned to be comfortable around large horses and how to respect their space. He became calm around them; he gained balance, and lost his fear of high places. He gained confidence that he could accomplish anything he set his mind to. Thank you Hooves for Harmony!
From the father of a previous rider:
I teach mathematics at a local High School where I am also the head of the math department. I have two sons who are 8 and 5 years old. While they both have autism, they are very different. We have been taking the boys out to Hooves for Harmony for over a year. It has always been free and awesome! Heather and her volunteer staff are very patient and considerate of kids with special needs and their families. When my wife was extremely sick last spring, they were so helpful as I brought both boys by myself. The boys benefit greatly from their equine exposure; confidence, better communication, muscle tone and much more.
From a previous parent:
My son who has autism has been participating with Hooves for Harmony for a month now. Not only does he LOVE the horses, he wouldn't be able to take private lessons otherwise due to the cost. Hooves is a non-profit organization that gives our son the opportunity to ride. This program benefits him greatly as it does so many other children with disabilities. Thank you!
One of the best organizations that help children to have more confidence. Those beautiful horses work as one with the kids. -Robert Fetty
My daughter has ridden with several therapeutic riding programs and there is no safer or more personalized program than Hooves for Harmony. Heather is a horsewoman first and her horses are so well-trained that as a parent you can just enjoying watching your child ride. She is completely sensitive to what each rider needs; insuring their safety first but making sure they have fun with the horses while learning new skills. She is loving, compassionate and completely dedicated to sharing her love of horses and children with each family. My daughter Kate still talks about “Doc”, her favorite horse.
Proud Mom of Kate, Thank you truly
How Hooves for Harmony changed my life? Well my story isn’t the typical story you will usually hear about Hooves for Harmony…
I grew up the only child of two parents with disabilities and swore I would never work with anyone, especially children with disabilities. I was a teenager that was angry at the world. I had no goals, dreams, ambition, or passion. Then Hooves for Harmony came into my life, and it changed everything about me but I didn’t even know it at the time. Hooves for Harmony serves many children with special needs, it helps multiple families receive equine therapy for little to no cost. Heather Parker had a dream to use her knowledge and work with horses to help children. I believe that when she opened her non-profit organization that she believed she would help the children riding the horses and the families of those children but I am not sure she would have ever guessed it would help those leading the horse. Volunteer are supposed to be helping not necessarily be the ones being helped but sometimes both can happen, which is what happened in my story.
I first started volunteering for Hooves for Harmony when Heather first opened the organization and started riding lessons because she needed help. I thought that it would be temporary and only until she found someone with more knowledge of horses, someone that was older, or at least not only 14 years old or anyone but me. I went because it was Sunday morning for a couple of hours; it wasn’t going to kill me. But something did change in me the minute I got to the ranch, although I had met Heather’s horse Rocky before I had never met Shamrock. This may sound stupid but Shamrock changed my life. I instantly felt a pull to him, I trusted him, and actually felt and still feel he understood me. Next thing you know, I loved Hooves for Harmony, and I wouldn’t miss a Sunday for anything. I started to change little things in my life and even big things to make sure that I was always at H4H on Sunday morning. It gave me something to do, take pride in, enjoy, and influence my life in a positive aspect. I loved the kids we helped and started to see these kids as reason to not be so angry. Some of these kids could not walk or talk but they could smile, some of these families had children that would never be able to do some of the things that they would have wanted for their children but they loved them and weren’t as angry as I always felt. I watched the therapy we provided changed lives of children, from kids that were too scared to get on the horse their first time riding to wanting to ride by themselves, and kids that couldn’t stay awake for the first 6 months of riding to laughing on the horse.
I began to notice that I now wanted to do something with my life; I began to have goals, wants, dreams and passion. I went from a kid that was angry, that got into trouble, didn’t care about school, or want a future to a girl that wanted to be a special needs teacher or occupational therapist. Fast forward a couple of years, Heather got married and Hooves for Harmony was moving to Redding, I felt like I was going to explode. All the anger that I had thought went away all came back. Hooves for Harmony was my outlet, it was the place that I went and forgot about my problems, the place where I felt like I could say anything to Shamrock. I would get Shami ready for riders in the morning, so that time walking him down the hill or back up after riders, that walkway has lots of secrets. Shamrock was my therapist, as funny as that sounds I told him everything, and I always felt better. I believe that God knew that Hooves for Harmony wasn’t done with me yet, and events would take place so that I would end up finishing High School in Redding.
Hooves for Harmony is an amazing organization and I am so proud of all that it has accomplished, the many children it has served but it honestly helps everyone that is involved. It helped an angry, confused, and lazy teenager become a passionate 23 year old woman that is content, motivated, and a hard worker. I now live in Arkansas, working on my Bachelors of Science in Social Work and Bachelors of Arts in Political Science degrees. I plan to go to Law School and help people the way Heather and Hooves for Harmony helped me. I know that I have said thank you to Heather as my friend and her influence in my personal life but I haven’t said thank you to the organization as whole before. I hate that I live so far away now and am unable to be a part of Hooves for Harmony but they are always in my heart. Shamrock, Rocky, Skip, Heather, and Marilyn have a gift and I am so grateful for their influence and interest in my life, to help me be the woman I am today.
My son has more strength in his legs since he has been riding...it has been an amazing opportunity that my son couldn’t get anywhere else
First of all I wanted to thank you Heather for what you are doing for my son and not only my son but all the other kids as well. Juan has quadriplegic Cerebral palsy with limited movements. We stopped receiving physical therapy when he was 3 years old. All of my family has seen the improvements that my son has made in the last couple of months. For example at the beginning of the horse riding Juan use to lean so much to the sides that you had to use a lot of your strength to hold him, you still do but not as much. His vision is getting better, I noticed that he looks more to where voices are coming from. He pays a lot more attention when I am talking to him and in his way he lets me know what he needs. He used to do that but now it is different in that he is getting more demanding with what he wants, he needs to have it at the time he is requesting it, (I guess this is good in some kind of way.) I’ve got to tell you I am very happy with what you and your horses are doing for my son, thank you so much Heather.