Meet the girls of Little Hooves and Big Hearts

Sue Robisch

Lillie, Dolly, Daisy, Mae, Savannah, Leanne. Who are they? What makes them special? They are miniature horses and they are special because they are specially trained to make a difference in the life of a child with special needs. How can that be? Well, when such a child is introduced to a “mini” at Little Hooves and Big Hearts (LHBH) something happens.

During a typical therapeutic session at LHBH the child and the horse choose each other. A horse is a very sensitive animal; sensitive to the child’s personality; able to read the child’s mood. The horse mirrors the child’s inner self. So, as the child is looking over the minis, trying to decide which one to choose, the horse is trying to decide if she wants to approach the child. So sometimes a connection is not made between the child and the horse of his/her choosing.

The choice, by both child and horse, gives our facilitators valuable insight into the child’s personality and suggests a therapeutic path. Our facilitators, Tammy Mockbee and Amy Armour, are certified in equine-guided education and PATH (Professional Association of Theraputic Horsemanship). They know the minis well. This enables them to pick up on the mini’s reactions to, and behavior with, the child.

To those of us at LHBH who know each one of the girls, and to the children who come to LHBH, we know much about them. Savannah at 25 is the oldest and matriarch of the herd. She is Lillie’s mom. Her best friend is Leanne and they like to hang out together. Lillie and Dolly are our traveling team. They are the two we most often take to visit retirement homes, children’s clinics and events. They both have an uncanny connection to people. Daisy and Mae are mother and daughter. Lillie and Daisy like to be first in line to greet kids when they come to us. Each one of our “girls” is special to us and to the children who come to LHBH for therapy. (We have boys too. Look for them in a later article.)

Little Hooves and Big Hearts is a not-for-profit 501(C)(3) organization. We are located in Oracle, AZ. To learn more about us go to our website at or call our office at 520-896-2820.