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Barn Girl and Discards Defy Odds
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Barn Girl and Discards Defy Odds

There is much to be said about the long history of bondage between humans and horses; deaf they may be, the interaction ability horses possess with us, is simply amazing. Perhaps they work with “intuition” to understand their human companion's needs and expectations.

Horses react to their riders’ shortcomings with integrity and passion, and at times, they become the “healers” of unbearable human discomfort, whether physical or psychological. Such healing process has been going on at the Caisson Stables at the US military base of Fort Myers in Arlington, Virginia.

Elegantly white or gorgeously black horses are engaged in therapeutic riding at the Caisson Stables. Mary Jo Beckman is the “Therapeutic Riding Instructor” who, together with the discarded soldiers, is defying the odds. These horses are primarily employed for pulling caissons whenever military funerals take place at Arlington National Cemetery; nevertheless, their “secondary job” is seemingly delivering much more value to the community of soldiers as they are helping injured army personnel to recover from devastating pain.

What are the odds of a returning soldier from a battlefield with broken arms or legs moving on with his life in hope and confidence? In normal circumstances, not too much; however, at the Caisson Stables of Arlington it is not a strange phenomenon. Soldiers with prosthetic legs are even hoping to regain some kind of mobility through the therapeutic riding program and the barn girl, Mary, is playing an important role in the process. Soldiers with lost legs, lost arms, broken limbs, and other severe injuries are considered people with serious physical, emotional and mental disabilities; Mary Jo Beckman and the horses do great job in taking care of these physically and mentally challenged people.

Defying the odds, as it is viewed by most, is fruitfully being achieved by the “Caisson Horses” as they are providing the platform for regaining balance of discarded soldiers’ physical and often, mental, conditions. Many of these “discarded soldiers’ were treated by physical therapists that rendered little improvement; surprisingly, once they completed courses of therapeutic riding at the Caisson Stable, they are said to have gained unexpected dramatic recovery. These horses seem to understand the needs of their riders and carry them with utmost care, with the appropriate rhythm, that contributes immensely in healing their injuries.

As you can see, the barn girl and the wonderful horses of Arlington are able to realize the severity of their pain. Consequently, they put together a team effort to heal these discarded soldiers to help them find some comfort and inspiration in life. The therapeutic riding guided by Mary and performed by the “Caisson Horses” is producing positive impact on these soldiers’ psyche, and together they are defying the odds.

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