ike so many little girls, Narissa 
Jenkins, the Founder and Executive 
Director of Healing Hoof Steps 
dreamed of one-day fi nding life 

with her passion for horses. Her parents had 
hoped that she would eventually outgrow 
her love of horses, but it never happened. 
It was a fl ame that seemed bleak at times 
but always remained as life unfolded with 
marriage, career, two children and later a 
divorce. During the healing process after the 
divorce, she met her husband, Ben Jenkins. 
He had been in sobriety for many years and 
shared his knowledge of the AA Program 
with her. “I remember him asking me if I had 
any hobbies,” Jenkins said. “I was a single 
mother of two young boys, what on earth was 
a hobby???” When he shared that it could be 
anything that brought her joy and that no one 
else needed to feel the same, she knew it had 
something to do with horses. Not knowing 
at that time, his advice to fi nd a horse to be 
around was what reignited the fl ame that she 
had kept reserved for so many years. This 
therapeutic hobby would become the catalyst 
to what is Healing Hoof Steps today.  

She maintained her career in the business 

and marketing world here in Northwest 
Florida and then to Orlando. “I loved working 

with diverse people and understanding the 
psychology of why people do the things they 
do in their businesses.” Helping people with 
their business marketing needs and watching 
them succeed also became a passion of hers. 
“Working in radio, television, marketing, and 
digital were fulfi lling for many years,” she 
said. “Until one day I thought, why am I doing 
this?” She wanted to do something that would 
combine her passion for helping people and 
her love of horses. While living in Orlando 
in 2013, she began her search for knowledge 
about equine therapy programs and research. 
She visited as many trainers and programs, 
as she could, to gain insight on the pros and 
cons of building an equine therapy facility. 
That’s when she 
met her friend 
and mentor, Dr. 
Manette Monroe, 
M.D., M.Ed.   
Dr. Monroe’s 
research focus is 
on the effi cacy of 
utilizing Equine 
Assisted Therapy 
for the treatment 
of post-traumatic 
stress disorder in 

American combat veterans. As the daughter 
of a retired Vietnam Veteran, Narissa knew 
fi rsthand the effects that P.T.S.D. could have 
on a family. Back in the 1980’s, P.T.S.D. was 
not something that was at the forefront of 
research; nevertheless treated as widely as it is 
today. Narissa knew she wanted to help others, 
especially since she understood the struggles 
of growing up in the untreated aftermath of 
P.T.S.D., because of her father’s battle. She 
found a new treatment modality, EAGALA. 
This treatment involved her love of horses 
and helping others out of their struggles 
with mental health issues. Narissa became a 
Certifi ed Equine Specialist with the worldwide 
organization, EAGALA (Equine Assisted 

story by


Narissa Jenkins 




photos provided by

 Seana Lucille Photography

36     |    VIPDestinMagazine.com

Healing Hoof Steps

36-37 GiveCareShare - Healing Hoof Steps.indd   1

6/25/18   12:49 PM