Horses Mending Hearts

STEPS Foundation’s program of pairing abuse victims with healing horses is a powerful approach using horses as the true teachers and healers.

Supporting and Healing

By supporting survivors of domestic abuse, sexual abuse and PTSD, we help break patterns that may otherwise plague individuals and families for generations.

Helping Horses

Through Horses Mending Hearts, STEPS Foundation has rescued 14 abused horses and given them a loving home on Colorado’s Front Range.

About STEPS Foundation

STEPS Foundation is established in the belief that the best way to help disadvantaged people is through the promotion of education and social entrepreneurial ventures. Founded by Lynn Powers, STEPS Foundation is administered to do the following: Support, Train, Empower, Protect and Sustain.

Horses Mending Hearts is a STEPS Foundation funded organization that rescues abused and neglected horses and pairs them with individuals who have suffered abuse. Their programs offer individuals continued support and healing from past traumas. The programs offer a healing process for both the individual and the horse.

Run by Debra Thomas and Bill Kipp, Horses Mending Hearts is the primary beneficiary of the STEPS Foundation organization. Through their work, Horses Mending Hearts has adopted 15 horses from Colorado Horse Rescue, built and launched programs for abuse victims and also created a “Leading with Horses” team building program for corporate team building experiences.


STEPS Foundation pairs abuse victims with healing horses – a powerful program that uses the horses as the true teachers and healers.

2015 Workshop Dates Planned

We are excited to announce the following scheduled dates for  2015 Horses Mending Hearts Workshops: May 15–17, June 5–7,  July 10–12, August 14–16, September 11–13, and October 2–4. Please see the blog (below) for more information or contact Debra at 303-775-8117.

Art Class at STEPS Ranch

Art Class. (Postponed, due to illness. Reschedule date coming soon.) Artist, photographer and teacher Shelley Olivier offers an art therapy class at our beautiful STEPS Ranch. Cost $45 for instruction and supplies. Everyone is welcome. RSVP by November 10. See blog below for more information.

Horses Mending Hearts Team


Debra Thomas – More


Bill Kipp – More


Our Horse Heroes- More

Lynn Powers

As Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of the lifestyle media company Gaiam Inc., Lynn Powers guides her company in transforming the lives of millions around the world. Gaiam’s award-winning fitness media brand garnered an impressive 44% market share according to Neilson’s video scans in 2012. Its message of advancing sustainable values, wellness and personal development set it apart across industries. More…

Corporate Leadership & Team Building

The STEPS Foundation and Horses Mending Hearts are proud to present a one-day Corporate Leadership/Team Building program. In this popular program, participants work in small groups, individually and one-on-one with horses. This is hands-on, experiential learning at its best. Find out more

People Love What We’re Doing

“I had no idea what to expect going into this. What I was able to learn about horses and myself (stop denying about myself) was so amazing. Your openness, honesty, and expertise in this area created a very safe and caring and healing environment. So many will benefit when they too can experience this workshop, and you. The gift of you and the gift of the horses.”


“What an amazing weekend. It is so great to integrate ideas of personal power and healing with the majestic calming presence of horses. The atmosphere was amazingly compassionate, safe, and accepting. This workshop is helpful to anyone, no matter where they are on their journey of healing from trauma.”


Some Local Press

The program was featured on Denver’s 9News in December, 2013. Check it out.

From The Blog

2015 Workshop Schedule

Our Vision: To help survivors of trauma move beyond surviving to thriving as

productive members of society and to be inspirational catalysts for others to do the same.

We are planning our 2015 Workshop Season and are excited to announce the following dates for Horses Mending Hearts Workshops:

  • May 15 – 17, 2015
  • June 5 – 7 , 2015
  • July 10 – 12, 2015
  • August 14 – 16, 2015
  • September 11 – 13, 2015
  • October 2 – 4, 2015

All workshops are held at the STEPS Ranch on Friday evenings, Saturdays from 9 am to 4 pm and Sundays from 9 am to 3 pm. Attendance is limited to six participants per session. Cost is $400 per person, with scholarships available.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Part of our mission is to provide workshops at no or low cost to those who would not otherwise be able to afford them. The STEPS Foundation provides major funding for this purpose, and we are also currently applying for grants and seeking additional corporate sponsorship for our programs.

Do you know individuals or corporations who may resonate with our mission and would like to learn more about sponsorship opportunities? We would love to talk to them! Please contact Debra at

2014: What a Great Year

“Bread may feed my body, but my horse feeds my soul.”

— Arabian poet

We — horses and humans — are so grateful to have spent an amazing first year at the STEPS Sanctuary Ranch in Longmont. The year began with lots of work building fences, sprucing up the grounds and making the place our own. We got to know our newly adopted horses and enlisted the help of our wonderful vet, Stacy Blume, our trainer, Cathy Gosha, and several volunteers to help keep our herd healthy, well-mannered, and beautifully groomed.

We started a wonderful association with the Temple Grandin School for autistic children and spent many joyful Friday afternoons watching their students interact and fall in love with our gentle horses.

We launched our signature “Horses Mending Hearts” workshops in May through October. The workshops were well-received and even more successful then we had dreamed (more about this in a future post!).

We are so grateful to you, our supporters, participants, and friends, for helping us manifest this long-held dream. We look forward to expanding even more in the coming year. The horses and I thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.

Love to you and yours,


Art Class at the STEPS Ranch (New date TBA), by Artist Shelley Olivier


(Note: The November 15 class was postponed due to illness. New date TBA)

Come join us to hydrate your creative juices and discover how much artistic beauty is inside of you. This is an all-level class, open to everyone!

10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Horses Mending Hearts Barn.
$45 includes all your supplies for a finished canvas creation and a contribution to Horses Mending Hearts.

Pablo Picasso said: ““Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

Shelly Olivier,  painter, photographer, teacher, horse lover

Shelly Olivier, painter, photographer, teacher, horse lover

One of the goals of painter, photographer, and teacher, Shelley Olivier, is that she and her students ‘see’ in between the normal lines of this world. She has discovered in her years of teaching and creative guiding that when students feel safe, they begin to open themselves to emotions and feelings that have been locked away. She strives for a safe atmosphere in all her classes; there are no rights or wrongs in the opening of the creative heart. The key is being safe enough for emotions and feelings to emerge. That’s when the dust in the soul begins to wash away.
For questions or to RSVP, contact Shelley at
719.651.7669  or 
Please RSVP so she can purchase your supplies.

© 2014 Copyright Steps Foundation