Meet Becky Shewuck – native Dallasite, business founder and owner, wife, mother, and grandmother. An additional role close to her heart is Equine Specialist. Becky purchased her current Celina acreage in her 20’s while establishing a successful residential construction company in Dallas. Over the years the desire grew to combine her passion for horses and the love of her land into a meaningful partnership. Out of that dream, the non-profit “4 Hooves for Hearts” was established. “4 Hooves for Hearts” provides the space to allow a licensed therapist and a trained horse professional to meet with individuals, families, and groups by providing opportunities to develop skills for problem-solving, overcoming obstacles, and tackling psychotherapy goals. Becky and her team collaborate treatment through Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) which focuses on experiences between the client and the horse.
Experiencing Becky’s love of horses and people first-hand is a treat. I had the privilege of meeting with her and discussing her love for serving people and her life-long love of horses while we walked through the multi-stalled barn and covered arena. Becky is an accomplished horsewoman and has achieved the highest recognized level of training offered through the Parelli Natural Horsemanship program. During her training, she established a non-profit organization, WindyHill Equine Rescue and Rehoming, and emphasizes training and re-training the rescued horse through natural horsemanship.
Through her rescue organization, Becky has found horses that are not appropriate for riding but still have much to offer people. Using her natural horsemanship training and experience, she became certified with the EAGALA model (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association). “4 Hooves for Hearts” is the only EAGALA facility between Celina and Oklahoma. It offers a unique opportunity to offer services to the community as it is an environment that helps otherwise reluctant clients get on board with mental health. Becky tells me that horses have a natural ability to connect with people. She explains that horses as prey animals, are naturally attuned and intuitive toward those around them and are the “perfect mirror of someone’s feelings”.
Becky explains that a client will meet privately with a licensed therapist in the barn office and then join her and the horse or horses in the arena for ground activities. Their time together will focus on non-verbal communication, assertiveness, creative thinking, teamwork, and more. Each session is tailored to the client and can address substance abuse and dependency, anxiety, depression, ADD/ADHD, post-traumatic stress disorder, and many other life-altering situations. Becky recounts “It’s very powerful. The universal thing about all our clients is that when the horse connects with them, they often just open up.” These animals who were rescued and once bound for slaughter are now the ones doing the rescuing, as they help heal the people who connect with them.
I spent most of my time with Becky fighting off tears while she explained that horses can discern honesty and emotion in their people. The trust and partnership that occurs between a licensed therapist, Becky, the client, and a 1200-pound dynamic, powerful horse is almost magical and is changing lives. Becky hopes to expand on the organization’s services by offering therapeutic services to veterans and first responders. Working together with local veteran associations, “4 Hooves for Hearts” has a goal of treating all veterans and first responders who seek help.
As stated on their website, “4 Hooves for Hearts” offers a unique opportunity to create life-long changes that effectively address the underlying causes of many problems. Equine Assisted Psychotherapy addresses the root causes of problems in order to create lasting, positive changes. If you or someone you know needs help making changes, contact Becky at 4hoovesforhearts.org. If you would like to support the work Becky is engaged in by financially caring for and feeding the horses, as well as the facilities and grounds, donate at 4hoovesforhearts.org/donate2c72a8d0. The expenses of providing for “4 Hooves for Hearts” are great but the life-changing benefits to children, adults, and families are much greater.