Freedom Hooves brings balance, recovery to Moffat County |

Freedom Hooves brings balance, recovery to Moffat County

Noelle Leavitt Riley
Savannah Meyring, left, stands with Joan Heinz, Tricia Foster, Isabelle Herod, 10, Connie Sue Ellis, Dr. Scott Ellis, George and Jory Ellis,7, and Pat Robson at Freedom Hooves.
Noelle Leavitt Riley

They say that pets are pure love, and the same can be said of the therapeutic equines at Freedom Hooves in Craig.

Their love and patience helps people with a slew of life’s obstacles, boosting them to the next level of recovery.

“When you field difficulties through a horse, amazing things happen,” said Joan Heinz, Freedom Hooves program director. “It increases core strength and has huge emotional benefits as well.”

The organization is tucked away a couple miles northwest of Craig, stationed on Connie Sue Ellis and Dr. Scott Ellis’ property. Scott Ellis built the facility a few years ago.

“The horse is a very noble animal,” Scott Ellis said. “Not only do the kids and adults get something out of it, so do the horses.”

Freedom Hooves volunteers work with a variety of student that range in age from 3-years-old to 86, helping facilitate a variety of healing.

“There are so many people whose lives can be improved by being around horses,” said Tricia Foster, president of Freedom Hooves board.

Those who work and volunteer with Freedom Hooves aren’t the only ones who understand the organization’s importance. The program is sponsored by Moffat County United Way and is a Yampa Valley Community Foundation grant recipient.

“The heartstrings are the kids that are able to tap into success for the first time in their lives,” Connie Sue Ellis said. “It provides a service that is clearly needed.”

The Ellises donate their large horse barn and training facilities to Freedom Hooves.

“I’m glad to see it put to use,” Connie Sue Ellis said. “Clearly it makes a difference in the lives of the kids as well as the adults.”

Freedom Hooves uses seven horses for therapy and has roughly 38 people signed up for therapy — 20 of which are returning patients.

Contact Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or

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