A Saturday at Warrior Horse Helping Vets with PTSD
Just about a year ago, I was honored to host the grand opening gala for Warrior Horse, and over the weekend I was able to volunteer and witness the program healing our heroes first hand.
I was instructed to arrive at Warrior Horse at 11 am Saturday to help prepare the horses for each of the veterans there for help with their PTSD. I arrived while they were still in the 'class' portion of the program. They were reviewing horse behavior, fight or flight responses, aggressive or dominant behaviors, and affection and bonding. You see, Warrior Horse is a program that provides vets with equine assisted activity or 'therapy' to help them overcome the symptoms of their PTSD.
Shortly after my arrival, we broke for lunch. As I broke bread with these four local veterans, we got to know each other. Following lunch, I was surprised, honored and incredibly touched when one of the veterans, a 75-year-old Marine and Vietnam Vet, gifted me with a challenge coin, a gift I felt I was truly unworthy to accept.
From there, the vets were given one on one time with one of the horses of Warrior Horse, through 'joining up.' This method works because horses effectively mirror the emotions of those who are working with them. It teaches self awareness and helps one to gain control of their emotions and teaches them to begin channeling them in a more productive manner.
Every single one of the veterans had a significant breakthrough. In fact, the vet pictured above was even able to invite the horse to lie down for him... a sign of intense trust and acceptance because when a horse lies down, they're completely vulnerable. I found out later that this particular veteran arrived about an hour and a half after the program had started. He sat in his car at the end of the road trying to find the courage to face his demons. Not only did he face them, he kicked them to the curb! I'm not saying that one day can erase all of his past trauma, but it's an incredible start!
I was so touched to be a part of this incredible healing process, I had to share my experience, even though it's hard to describe unless you experience it first hand.
After many, many tears, the participants moved to the 'counseling' portion of the program with John Haigler, the Executive Pastor with The Simple Church.
This was only the second class of veterans to experience the healing that can be found at Warrior Horse, and I personally look forward to witnessing many more hearts finding peace and relief!
I hope that you can find it in your heart to support this amazing program! To donate to Warrior Horse, a 501(c)3, click here.