Riding Towards Balance and Independence
The Hand, Hoof and Heart journey began back in 2013 in Marietta, GA. Our founder, Erin, had always been involved with horses, but hadn't planned on building this program until she took a job as a caregiver for a young boy diagnosed with autism and fell in love working with the special needs community. The Hand, Hoof and Heart dream quickly developed into reality when Erin partnered with The MDE School to start an equestrian club for their students. When the program first took off, we started out with four riders, two horses and one instructor. During the first five years, we not only offered therapeutic horseback riding, but Erin continued to further her knowledge by working with clients and their families privately at their homes by offering job coaching, meal prep, life skills, community access and behavior modification.
In October 2021, Hand, Hoof and Heart finally landed in its forever home - 15 acres of beautiful farmland in Cherokee County, GA. The program has grown into a barn family of 46 students, 11 horses, and 7 staff members. We now offer several different types of services focused on animal-assisted education and therapeutic outdoor activities. We have put an emphasis on promoting inclusivity, providing opportunities for the community to get involved, and building a volunteer program that encourages involvement with the special needs community and education industry. We can't wait to see what is next for Hand, Hoof, and Heart as we continue to grow and develop inclusive, skill-based programs for our community.