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Horses Help Heroes helps Veterans in more ways than one
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Horses Help Heroes helps Veterans in more ways than one

Horses Help Heroes is a Crofton based program. It started in late 2016 and its aim is to help the lives of service-connected disabled veterans and their families. They also help the families of those military personnel who died on active duty through free programs focused around horses. It was first started by a wounded veteran but is now owned by Jeff Dwyer.

The program offers a range of activities as service from riding lessons and therapy to spending time around horses. The human-animal bond is extremely useful in healing processes and it is on this foundation that the entire program functions. Forming a bond with horses doesn’t necessarily mean one has to ride the. One can simply be around the wonderful animals and enjoy their presence whilst taking in the beauty of the fields at Sunrise Farm which is situated in Gambrills. This is the location of the Ebb Tide Stables.

Horses Help Heroes offer different tiers of services with level one being ‘hanging out with horses’ to level two and level three being ‘conversations with horses’ and ‘enrichment with horses’ respectively.

Retd. Lt. Col. Bill Culp of the United States Army is one of the many volunteers of the program and also happens to be a veterinarian doctor. He says that being out in an open, cool area like a farm is relaxing for most people. He lives near the farm and comes to the farm almost every day to take care of the horses. He feeds the horses and cleans their stables which are two among the many other jobs he performs. He feels that interacting with horses gives much needed peace to any individual.

Veterans usually face a lot of challenges when they settle down after a war. These challenges include both physical and psychological challenges such as amputation, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. It has been found that working with animals, specifically, horses can help build trust, confidence and give people new tools to face the various problems they might have. Horses, big and strong they might be, are still prey animals. They look for trust that a person is not going to harm them. Similarly, some veterans when they come to the farm are usually low on confidence about their abilities. Once a bond is established between a veteran and a horse, the change in human demeanor is almost instant. A two way trust is essential for this to work effectively and once that is achieved, the success of it becomes quite obvious.

 

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  1. jst4horses
    There is a lot of information at Oak Meadow Ranch in Wildemar California on veterans and programs. There is also the book, by Elizabeth Wiley, Carousel Horse, which is the inclusion book used to help even students, and veterans who are not able to get to any of the 350 member programs of the awesome project HorsesforHeroes, inc out of Las Vegas...........there will be two new books this year from the Carousel project, which is Spirit Horse II, that will cover work done since the sixties with Vietnam Veterans and their families, and work done with women veterans and their children since Desert Storm in a requested program for court mandated families where PTSD has caused the court to remove the children from their homes. Carousel Two, and Still Spinning will give a veteran's eye view of these areas of the equine therapy programs, both therapeutic riding and equine therapy, that the veterans helped formulate. In these programs the veterinarians are also often healed. Track vets, and show barn vets have volunteered in many equine therapy programs, saying they LOVE coming and as in the above article, just cleaning stalls, or grooming if they wish, and seeing horses live years, and years with all the love they both receive and give..........One track vet told his client, one of the richest men in the racing industry what he was doing, and the man was so amazed and inspired, he offered to pay for any treatments the horses in a local equine therapy project needed!
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