HeartStrides was founded in 2010 by Kristy Dees and Jim Telloian. Their own childhoods and families had been touched by addiction and mental health challenges. Both are people in long term recovery. Kristy and Jim found that working with the horses was deepening their own recoveries and ability to heal.

They originally worked with horses to help their daughter Magn learn to walk because she was born with Down Syndrome . 

Kristy and Jim found in relationships with horses that their ability to relate to themselves and each other was changing in profound and intimate ways. Horsemanship core values improved the quality of their lives, relationships and recoveries.

The long term goal was to build a recovery support community at Healing Hearts Ranch and carry this work to other individuals and families. HeartStrides is the non-profit that allows them to be able to further this work in the community.