A calm peaceful barn and the down-home smell of fresh hay… birds chatter… kittens meow their greetings and horses nicker from stall to stall. Far from the chaos of a war zone or the bustle of the VA medical center, local Veterans participate in a non-traditional therapy program at Equest Center for Therapeutic Riding called Horses for Heroes.
Horses for Heroes is a program for both veterans and wounded service personnel. The Program uses both mounted and un-mounted equine assisted activities to assist in physical and emotional healing. Horses are highly reactive and mimic human emotions requiring calm and non-reactive communications which promotes emotional awareness, emotion regulation, self-control, and impulse modulation. Working with horses in a therapeutic setting offers instant and constant feed back to participants, requires physical strength and balance, and is highly motivational – combining to make an exceptionally effective rehabilitation environment.
Outdoors on our serene 34 acre farm with a team of encouraging volunteers, PATH International instructors and a supportive horse, self-control, self- esteem, self-confidence and independence grows. We strive to improve, emotionally empower and socially enhance the lives of veterans and active duty soldiers giving us an opportunity to serve those who have served us.
Horses for Heroes helps participants with challenges including:
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Physical limitations due to combat injuries
- Normalized muscle tone
- Improved Balance
- Increased range of motion
- Building confidence and self-esteem
- Developing strength, coordination and fine/gross motor skills
- Instilling patience and management skills