We had the good fortune of connecting with Melissa Sargent and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Melissa, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Heart and Hooves Therapy is a 501c(3) non-profit that was founded in 2014 after years of growing up with children with disabilities, adoptive family who were very loving and horses. During my childhood, I went thru many feelings and emotions as to why I was adopted, etc. I turned to horses when I was just 14 and from that point on I felt, seen and learned the power animals have to help you when needed most. I continued on wanting to give back in someway but I had my own family and timing in life was not right. At the beginning of 2014, all 3 of my kids were all in school, my husband worked full time so I was able to launch our program. Our program is different as we can cater to any and all no matter where they are or what htey are going through.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Heart and Hooves Therapy enhances the lives of children and adults, any age and ability with a different kind of therapy! We use mini horses and other farm animals to offer AAA (animal-assisted activities) and AAT (animal assisted therapy) with on-site sessions and off-site visits to San Diego County. The on-site session we teach basic horse safety, learning basic body parts and grooming, foot care and educational learning based on the child’s age! We implement games to help with the educational aspect which also teaches the children confidence, courage, and respect. Off-site visits offer a one of a kind experience for our patients and their families. We provide one mini horse and handler to come and visit as well as help lift spirits and bring joy to those who can benefit most from our visits. We also educate our patients during our visits on basic horse care, safety and more. We are different than a lot of other business or non-profits because we serve any and all from A typical children to ADD to wheelchair-bound to OT, PT and speech goals. We also travel to Children’s hospital, Ronald Mc Donald House, speical needs school,camps for kids with cancer. senior centers, assisted living facilities, libraries, hospice patients and more to visit with residents, family members and staff. At Heart and Hooves Therapy we give any and all the tools needed to be able to interact and enage safely with mini horses and other farm animals. This alone makes many children and adults with disabilities able to do things they once thought they could not. We sometimes have to tweak and turn how we do something but the outcome is the same. Focus,patiences, listen, communication, retension, courage, confidence and respect.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
First off we would stay at the Welks resort in Escondido as it is like paradise but close to home too. I would take a drive to Carlsbad state beach and show her the amazing sites there. We could then grab a bit to eat at Five Guys for a yummy late lunch. We would take each day to visit the San Diego zoo, Wild Animal Park, Sea World, Sea port village and wrap up with just a day at the welks. They have yummy cocktails and a great spa offering all kinds of services.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Heart and Hooves Therapy is able to have Melissa Sargent, Founder as a full time un paid volunteer as her husband, Ian Sargent works full time to provide for their family of 5. His dedication to HHT is on so many levels unseen. Ian has been with DG Plumbing for 15 years working 40 to 50 hours a week. He then comes home to help us around the ranch with repairs, animlas, fundraising and more. Ian loves that his wife gets to give others such a amazing, heart warming and educational experience with the program. He gets such joy out of knowing he is able to help provide our program to the community.
Juanita Curtice, Melissa Sargent and Luke with Gift of Hospice