A program in Happy Valley offers free therapy to special needs children. Hooves for Harmony is a nonprofit organization that offers help to special needs children free of charge.
The desire began when Heather Parker was applying to medical school and needed volunteer hours. She said she saw the impact that horses had on children and it melted her heart. Heather said she specifically remembers a boy around eight years old, he didn’t talk very much and was autistic.
“The first time he ever got on a horse, his face lit up!” said Parker. “He was making eye contact with everybody and he started talking and the mom just started bawling. She said that was the first time she ever heard her son talk!”
Parker decided to get some horses of her own and help those around the Happy Valley community. She rescued four horses that she now uses for therapy. Parker said she has been around horses for most of her life and there is something different about rescue horses.
“It’s part of the magic,” said Parker. “It’s horses that have had a hard time and have struggled that can really relate to children that have struggled.”