Heroes & Horses

Our Humans

While our human clients and our equine herd are the centerpiece of Heroes & Horses’ programs, there are a lot of important people who make this work possible. Our staff, board, volunteers and financial supporters are all essential in the delivery of our programs.

Meet The Humans

Meet the human herd

Our team of equine professionals pours their hearts into each and every Heroes & Horses program.

Ann Balowski

Founder, Recovery Life Coach, Equine Assisted Facilitator

Ann is a lover of horses, humans and trauma recovery. As the daughter of a combat veteran, she was raised traveling the world with her family while her father was in the service. She grew up to marry a combat veteran as well, and she is no stranger to the life-altering effects of PTSD and other painful repercussions of military service. Her own healing journey led her to pursue a passion-turned-career of helping veterans and their families heal after returning home from service.

Ann is a certified recovery life coach with a background in corporate training and she brings more than 38 years of recovery experience into each session. She is also a certified HeartMath® coach mentor and holds three levels of Equine Assisted Learning certificates through the OK Corral Series. She is a skilled facilitator of both psycho-educational recovery groups and corporate team building workshops. Ann is a strong supporter of the DAV and other veteran resources.


Andrea Walker

Certified Equine Specialist, Equine Assisted Facilitator

Since she was a young girl, Andrea has always loved horses. She enjoyed riding and training them long before she had ever even heard of Equine Assisted Therapy and Learning, which she first learned about as a client. Having been raised around horses in Southern California, and then having worked with them professionally in both Hawaii and Arizona, Andrea brings more than 25 years of equestrian experience to her work as an equine specialist.

From the moment she experienced equine-assisted therapy herself, Andrea believed wholeheartedly in the therapeutic power of horses working with humans. She is very grateful to be able to put something so intuitive into practice.

Andrea is an EAGALA [Pete: hyperlink: https://www.eagala.org/index] certified Equine Specialist and has also received training directly from the founder of EAGALA, through the OK Corral Series. She holds a B.A. in psychology & human development and is currently pursuing an M.A. in clinical mental health counseling.


Jeff Larrieu

While growing up, I gained an interest in horses while working on the family cattle ranches in California and Oregon.

I am now retired from the Navy and from a Federal police officer position I held with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care system. Personally aware of the unique challenges faced by military and law enforcement personnel, I entered a healing journey of my own, which lead to a renewed interest in being around horses. While searching for a ranch using horses as "therapists", I discovered Heroes & Horses to be near my home in Chino Valley. Upon first contact with the founder, I knew equine-assisted learning was to be a part of my life. While observing my first session, it was clear I wanted to become part of the "herd" and support others on their healing journey.


Valerie Lambert (Ruggero)

My name is Valerie Lambert (Ruggero); my husband and I moved to Chino Valley, Arizona in 2007. We were happy to move to the Prescott area from southern California, and definitely enjoy the slower pace of life here. I am a proud military brat; my father served in the Air Force in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. I’ve lived all over the U.S., from Salina, Kansas (where I was born), to Pennsylvania, Georgia, Utah, Texas, Michigan, California and finally Arizona.

I’ve had the opportunity to experience the healing power of equine therapy and understand some of the challenges of military life. As a result, I jumped at the opportunity to work with an organization dedicated to using this healing power to help veterans and first responders, as well as their families. And for this I am very grateful.


Nate Fels

Community volunteer

My name is Nate Fels and I’m from northeast Kansas where I grew up working with horses and riding
English competitively. I had the opportunity to experience equine therapy as a client in treatment for
substance abuse and found that it reignited my passion for horses. In recovery, I have also found a new
passion for helping others and being of service. Heroes & Horses gives me an opportunity to practice
those things around the animals I love!

Meet the board of directors

Ann Balowski, board president

Founder, Heroes & Horses, Inc.
Certified life coach, For Clarity, LLC

Andrea Walker, vice president

Certified equine specialist, Heroes & Horses, Inc.

Michael Balowski, board member

Veteran, United States Army
Owner, Double A Services

Sara Dolan

Community volunteer

Sara is an active and integral supporter of Heroes & Horses, helping with raising funds and building community awareness, with a focus on the women’s veterans group program. She also writes articles for various publications on behalf of the organization.

Sara is a born adventurer and an animal lover. She was a flight attendant for 38 years and has always enjoyed being active, especially skiing, golfing and practicing yoga. She also has a passion for cooking, which led her to self-publish a cookbook—Tried and True, Just for You—whose proceeds go to help people in need. In fact, she hosted a book signing where proceeds went to Heroes & Horses.


Thank you to our generous supporters

As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Heroes & Horses depends on generous financial contributions from individuals, businesses and governmental agencies in order to deliver our impactful programs. We appreciate the support of these businesses, organizations and individuals:

  • Arizona Disabled American Veterans (DAV)
  • Disabled American Veterans (DAV) National
  • Walmart/Sam's Club
  • Albertsons/Safeway
  • Cardinals Charities
  • 906 Equine
  • Wings For Warriors
  • Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Chapter 16
  • FANN Construction
  • The Club at Prescott Lakes
  • US Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Chipotle
  • Go Fund Me Campaigns
  • Sara Dolan
  • Wildflower
  • Sheri Stetman
  • Prescott Animal Corner
  • And many more

To bless our clients with a financial contribution to Heroes & Horses, click the donate button below: