Horses are already adorable animals to most of us; at times, they appear to be best companions that are very helpful and loyal. Moreover, once a horse becomes your friend, it takes care of you more than you would take care of the horse; and if that friend of yours is a “mighty horse”, s/he will be able to create miracle(s) for you. The mighty horses in Arlington that are bringing hope to injured soldiers are producing such miracles. These horses are part of a team that provides therapeutic riding to soldiers with artificial legs so that they can regain some mobility.
The mighty horse that brings hope can be found at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, in Arlington, nearby Washington; these horses are a part of a pilot program along with soldiers from the 3rd US infantry regiment at Arlington. The pilot program is devised to find out if injured troops with prosthetic legs are able to regain some mobility because of horseback riding. To our amazement, this program is proving itself a success and many of the soldiers with artificial limbs are gaining mobility with the help of a few “mighty horses”.
The Arlington horses are gorgeous in black and white as they gallop through the streets; however, their primary occupation is to pull caissons during military funerals at the neighboring Arlington National Cemetery. Nevertheless, the mighty horses’ secondary job appears to be life saving for many soldiers who had lost hopes in the battlefield with the loss of some body part. These horses are providing physical and mental support to soldiers who are trying again to be back on their feet; as they struggle to walk with their new, artificial legs, the mighty horses facilitate in regaining their strength.
The tall, handsome and well-trained horses at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center are mighty horses in the sense that they provide therapeutic riding for injured soldiers; and the therapeutic riding gives hope to soldiers that are disabled physically, mentally and emotionally. The horses know the rhythm in which they are to walk with their patients on their backs; the riding on horseback, helps the injured soldiers regain some mobility by way of the motion created by the horses. Mary Jo Beckman, a therapeutic riding instructor at the Medical Center plays a central role in healing these soldiers.
Most of these mighty horses that are bringing hope to injured soldiers are Percheron horses. They are tall, muscular and strong and their colors are usually black or white. They are well trained to understand the physical limitations and emotional imbalance of the soldiers they are trying to heal. They are providing amazing services to people who have lost their hope in the battlefields so that some hope is restored for these unfortunate GIs and they can go on with their lives. They work silently to do something that has great positive impact on some peoples’ lives and, undoubtedly, they will be remembered by those who were given hope for the rest of their lives.