Renee Bouffard


Renee has been working in the field of social work for over 10 years working in residential settings and community mental health, intermittently incorporating horses throughout, and saw the benefits of this powerful relationship help her clients make large strides in their lives.  In 2011, Renee was able to learn more about Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and began practicing this model of therapy while also working in community mental health settings with adolescents and young adults with complex trauma.  Renee specializes in complex and single incident trauma, Reactive Attachment Disorder, depression, anxiety and Autism Spectrum Disorder symptoms with individuals of all ages.  Renee has been trained in several equine assisted psychotherapy models and most recently Natural Lifemanship where she has found her clinical fundamentals align the most with their principles.  Renee is also trained in EMDR (Eye Movement, Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy and has been combining EMDR and EAP, seeing incredible benefits for her clients.


Renee opened Healing Hoofbeats, LLC in October of 2016 full time and the practice has now grown to add 2 more therapists and an equine specialist.  She also holds certifications as an equine specialist and certified equine interaction professional.  Through her practice, Renee also provides supervision to other mental health professionals utilizing EAP principles and teaches workshops to professionals in the fields of mental health and therapeutic equine activities.


Laura Burke


Laura graduated from the University of Saint Joseph with a masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. During school she completed her internship in the IICAPS program, an intensive in-home program, working with at-risk youth and families in the Hartford area. This work provided important insights into the struggles some families face and how to approach therapy through a multicultural lens. Laura was able to incorporate horses on occasion informally during her time in the program, but strives to do more. 


After four years of working in the in-home program, Laura was given an opportunity to combine her two loves: helping others, and horses. To have the opportunity to watch the healing that can take place through developing a genuine relationship with these spectacular and perceptive beings has been transformative. 


Laura specializes in working with children and adolescents with a focus in depression, anxiety, ADHD and autism spectrum disorder. 




Amy graduated from the UConn School of Social Work as a Licensed Master Social Worker. 

She later went on to pursue a PATH Certification as an Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning and utilizes her training in Natural Lifemanship to shape her practice. 

Amy has 6 years of experience working with children and adolescents in community mental health and school settings who have various mental health, social and emotional issues.  Amy works with individuals and groups and enjoys incorporating horses and animals into her work.  




Liz earned a Bachelor of Social Work from Western Connecticut State University and a Master of Social Work from Fordham University.  In 2009 she became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.  Liz holds a Post-Master’s Certification from the University of Denver as an Equine Assisted Mental Health Practitioner.  As a graduate from this program, she received comprehensive education, training, and supervision to ethically include equine interactions and the equine environment to her psychotherapy practice.  


For the last 26 years Liz has worked in various roles for children and families in Connecticut.  She especially enjoys supporting adolescents and young adults, and has expertise with how adverse childhood experiences, trauma, mental illness, and substance abuse impact success.

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Nicole has been working in the field of Human Services for over 8 years as an experienced Advocate for Disabled Veterans. She graduated from Post University with a Bachelor of Science in Clinical Counseling. During her education she completed internships at a PATH International Premier Accredited Center assisting with therapeutic horseback riding programs for youth with disabilities as well as an equine assisted psychotherapy program for Disabled Veterans. In an effort to expand her knowledge in partnering with equines in therapy she pursued her PATH Certification as an Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning. Nicole is trained in Natural Lifemanship and finds that these fundamentals best align with her practice.


Nicole served 8 years in the Army National Guard and deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. She utilizes her own experience as a Combat Veteran to better serve the Veteran community.   



Animals are the perfect partner for therapy. They utilize their keen sensitivity to non-verbal communication to assist us in developing new relationship skills, regulating emotions and beginning the healing process.




Our healing partners are dedicated to this unique work and appreciate your support for their wellness. Each four-legged partner has different needs, which recur monthly. Sponsorship of our animals plays a key role in our ability to keep them happy, healthy, sound, and present.

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