Hearts and Hooves of North Little Rock Sherwood is currently seeking volunteers 18 years and older to work in its program. Volunteer dates are set for Oct. 28 and Nov. 4 from 9-11 a.m. The training sessions will cover EFL model, therapeutic boundaries, EFL volunteer ethics, horse handling, and HIPPA Compliance.

The Hearts & Hooves is based on the Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) model of therapeutic intervention. EFL is an experiential form of psychotherapy and learning that involves equines. The concept that horses might be helpful or healing to people struggling with mental health issues is based on the idea that horses are extremely sensitive to changes in the human being. Due to their sensitivity, horses react and respond to people differently based upon the person’s emotional state. The horse acts as a large biofeedback machine, providing the client and the therapist with information regarding the client’s moods and changes within those moods. This provides a plethora of information and skill building opportunities for both the client and the therapist.

Phase One will take place on Mondays from Nov. 11 to Dec. 9 from 9-11 a.m.

"Our program was developed to grow with each veteran’s needs," said Pat White of Hearts and Hooves. "Through successful completion of Phases, each veteran can achieve their individual goals. Participants will progress through two hour lesson for 5 continuous weeks. All Veterans will have quality instruction, purposeful Therapeutic Interventions, and the individual attention they have earned."

What are the Phases?

Phase One: Equine Behaviors and Establishing the Human/Equine Bond.

Phase Two: Natural Horsemanship Skills.

Phase Three: Developing the Team.

Phase Four: Advancing the Team.

Phase Five: From one arena to another.

Phase Six: Riding for the Brand!

"Each Phase will consist of EFL interventions focused on individual client needs," White said. "Lesson will be conducted on the ground and/or in the saddle in the more advanced phases."

No riding or horse experience is required.

The riding weight limit is 200 pounds, but there is no limit for ground lessons.