Sonia served in the US Navy as a Hospital Corpsman before pursuing a career as a Registered Nurse. While working for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Sonia realized just how vital and scarce services are for Veterans who are still fighting their battles at home.
As Sonia continued her nursing career, she spent more and more time with her horses, and began to focus on the parallels between horse herd dynamics and human teams. This also led her down a path of studying the effects of interactions with horses on mental health. After many years of training and mentorship on the horse-human connection, and how this relationship can assist us in how we communicate, respond, and support our human relationships; Sonia began to take steps towards building a program to support Veterans.
Through her research into what programs were currently available, she realized that there was a large deficit in these types of programs for First Responders. Although First Responders and Veterans have different exposures to traumatic situations, there are many similarities in the tools needed to build resiliency around exposure to real and perceived threats, which caused Sonia to include First Responders in her programs. Sonia was able to finally bring her dream of a trauma-informed equine-based program to life by launching Hooves & Heroes in 2021.
The members of our herd are the stars of the show and work very hard to provide support to those who need it most. We have 5 horses in our herd presently with a goal to continue our expansion as we add services for Veterans and First Responders. From building a relationship with horses, to developing riding skills and navigating trail obstacle courses, the list of ways we can partner with our equine friends is almost endless!
What is an organization of service without its volunteers?! These individuals do so much for the organization! From feeding and caring for the herd, to ordering, stocking and providing supplies, to helping with set up and tear down at events, to getting the word out and sharing the mission of the organization and so much more! They are the true foundation on which this organization is built. When you see an H&H volunteer please stop and thank them. They are in service of those who serve out of the kindness of their hearts because they believe in our participants, our mission and our goals.