As a former Miss Rodeo Colorado, DeAnnaKay Swetzig has always been around animals. She received her first horse as a gift from Santa as a child, and continued riding, training, and being around horses as much as possible throughout her childhood and teenage years. DeAnnaKay and her late husband, Bryan, raised cattle and horses throughout their years together.


In recent years, however, Bryan’s health began to deteriorate and they knew they would have to move on from their ranching days. Shortly after his passing, DeAnnaKay encountered a miniature horse at the home of a dear friend. Instantly, DeAnnaKay knew something special was happening as her interactions with the horse touched her deeply.


As a spiritual person, DeAnnaKay felt all signs were pointing for her to begin her own non-profit to help others experience healing through experiences with miniature horses. She first acquired Faith, and shortly after Cherry and Remi, and began bringing them to events for others to encounter the joy of spending time with miniature horses.

Meet Our Staff


DeAnnaKay Swetzig

Founder & Executive Director

DeAnnaKay has always had a passion for horses. Her childhood and teenage years were spent doing 4-H, Gymkanas, Saddle Clubs, FFA, and horse drill teams—focusing all her energy on riding. Throughout her adult life, maintaining a working ranch filled this roll in her life. Now, DeAnnaKay's new passion, as a self-described uplifter, is to use her love and knowledge of horses and animal therapy to help others.


Flora Roth

Board President & Horse Handler

Flora is a Northern Colorado native, and has been a horse lover since she was born. Flora feels very lucky to have grown up around other horse lovers and she loves to share with the joys of the horse with others. Being involved with Whispering Hearts Therapy gives her a platform to be able to share this love with her community. Aside from being the Board President, Flora is a trained handler and brings our miniature horses to events.


Mary Doty

Secretary and Treasurer of the Board

Mary has been a Northern Colorado realtor since 1994, is married to Mike, and has two grown sons. She has been a horse lover her entire life and is so thankful to be involved with Whispering Hearts Therapy as a way to be around the minis while giving back to the community where she lives and works. Mary and Mike also manage Aspen Acres in Estes Park, a short term vacation rental on three acres with a horse and wildlife theme.


Cat Ryden

Board Member & Horse Handler

Founder of Gray Feather Therapy Center, Cat joined the board in 2020 when the two centers were consolidated. With a passion for helping others and a love for horses and long ears (Donkeys and Mules) Cat brings a knowledge of training and working around a variety of animals and believes deeply in the animal-human connection and how it can change lives. She looks forward to working with the new board and supporting those in need.

Our team is passionate about seeing others experience joy through their interactions with the miniature horses of Whispering Hearts. For anyone who is hurting or just needs a reason to smile, our gentle, highly-trained animals and handlers are up for the task of lifting you up.

Meet the Animals

Faith 4


Faith was the first miniature horse we acquired for Whispering Hearts in May 2019. She came from our dear friend in Strasburg, Colorado where Faith was previously a project horse for 4-H. Her very first therapy visit was at the American Legion in Windsor, CO over Memorial Day, with veterans and their families.



Cherry is a miniature horse that came to Whispering Hearts from Columbus, Ohio, along with Remi, in May 2019. She is a trained and certified therapy horse and was recognized by the You Make the Difference Program. She gets her name from cherry vanilla ice cream. Everyone falls in love with Cherry's beautiful, blue eyes.

Remi 2


Remi is one of our youngest therapy horses and he's also a tiny miniature horse. This makes him extremely unique because he is so small. Remi and Cherry came to us from the same ranch in Columbus, Ohio in May 2019. He is a certified therapy horse.

Ben 3


Benji is a miniature donkey who came to Whispering Hearts from Peak 2 Peak Ranch near Livermore, Colorado in November 2019. He was imprint-trained from birth, meaning he is trained to latch onto humans which is ideal for animal therapy. Benji is continuing to train to be a therapy animal.



Lily is a miniature donkey from the same ranch in Livermore as Benji, and they both came to our ranch in November 2019. She is imprint-trained and is known by all who meet her as an extremely sweet animal. Lily and Benji both have the Sicilian Cross marking on their backs.

G 3


Gio as we call him is Lily's 2020 Jack miniature donkey baby and Benji's full brother. He is so sweet and social already. With his beautiful Sicilian Cross on his back and stripping on his legs he'll steal your heart.

Snow 1


Snow was part of a rescue of donkeys 6 in 2017. She was untouchable and only 2 years old when we got her. Now she is the first one to call out when she see you and loves to be hugged on.

Jaz 1 (1)


No one knew that when Snow came to Grey Feather that she was with foal. But then came Jasmine. Playful and smart and always the center of attention. With the joining of Grey Feather Therapy and Whispering Heart Therapy, Jazzi is a up and comming star.

Penny 1


Penny was also part of the rescue of a family of 6 donkeys. She was only a year old when Grey Feather Therapy and Rescue aquired them. Scaired and afraid of everything. she is now loving to be scratched and is quit playful

Each of our animals undergo a rigorous, yet gentle, training process to become therapy animals. None of our animals interact with the public until they’re certified therapy animals. Some of them have come to us trained. Others, we train ourselves until they are ready to provide maximum care to those we are passionate about reaching. Our handlers are also professionally trained to be able to provide optimal experiences for all involved. Feel free to ask us more about the training process!


Our ranch is our private home, therefore, it is not open to the public. We would love to you to meet our miniature horses at a public event around Greeley or hosted at a private location.

We’d be honored to come to your event! We ask for a donation for each event to help us cover our costs. Please inquire today about booking Whispering Hearts Therapy.

Anyone who owns a pet knows that it can bring joy to their day. But there is an increasing amount of scientific evidence showing how interactions with animals increase oxytocin in our bodies—the hormone that makes us feel happy. Check out this article from NPR to learn more.

We are always looking for people with experience who can help us with our miniature horses— whether that’s daily care or handling the animals at events. While we are very selective since this is a sensitive field, we’d love to hear from you if you’re interested in volunteering your time and talents to Whispering Hearts.

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