Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Horses Healing Heroes

When a horse is past its prime, or when it's been neglected or abused, there can be the unfortunate perception that the horse no longer has value. Some people think, if you can't ride a horse then what is it good for? This sad reality means that many old or abused horses end up in slaughter houses.

Thankfully, not all people share this viewpoint. Numerous horse rescue organizations take in horses that have behavioral problems, need medical attention, or have entered into old age. A lot of these horses spend their lives at horse sanctuaries, since people can find it daunting to adopt a horse that cannot be utilized for activities like riding and farm labor.

However, horses that suffer from abuse, medical conditions, neglect, or old age actually do have important purpose. Organizations like Horses Healing Heroes have created programs centered around Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. For example, the  H.E.A.R.T. Program (Home for Equines Abused or Retired for Therapy) places horses with veterans, police officers, and people suffering from traumatic events. The horses are often rescued from negligent owners or are surrendered by owners because of their old age or medical problems.

Through utilizing Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, these horses are providing comfort and healing for people suffering from trauma and post traumatic stress disorder. Horses Healing Heroes witnesses the healing power of these horses on a regular basis. One of their favorite stories is about a young man who had been deployed to Afghanistan. He found the equine therapy sessions and interaction with the horses so calming that he bought a horse and is now learning how to ride. Prior to his involvement with Horses Healing Heroes, he had never been near a horse. Horses Healing Heroes referred him to a local trainer, who paired him with the perfect equine companion. He recently wrote Horses Healing Heroes to thank them for leading him to his new "horse therapist," and for making a difference in his life.

The effects the horses have on the people they are assisting is incredible. Just being around the horses creates a calming environment of love and comfort. Building a bond of gentle and nurturing friendship with a horse provides a companion that can simply be there for comfort when people need it the most.

Horses Healing Heroes often receives support from the people they help because people are so grateful for the differences the therapy has made in their lives. Recently, a group of soldiers in town for a couple of months came out five Sundays in a row and put in a perimeter fence with dozens of railroad tie posts, hundreds of t-posts, no-climb, and fence posts. The wire used was mostly recycled Blackhawk helicopter cable donated by a local Army Medevac unit!

Fundraising support also comes from soliciting grants. Horses Healing Heroes recently received a grant from Home Depot for the construction of a covered deck where their clients and therapists can meet before they head out to the arena. The property had been a bare, unfenced pasture two years ago and they had been meeting under a popup stall with mats before they received the grant.

However, the organization relies heavily on donations and is hoping to find a wood or pipe company that can help replace the paddock with permanent fencing. With just two staff members and twelve volunteers, Horses Healing Heroes is always looking for more support.

If you would like to donate to Horses Healing Heroes, the money goes to both saving horses and people who have put themselves at risk to defend the rights of their fellow citizens. You can make a donation at horseshealingheroes.org or you can purchase a subscription to Equine Wellness Magazine and we will donate 40% to Horses Healing Heroes! Just use the code EWA035 here:

Visit Horses Healing Heroes on Facebook to learn more: Facebook.com/HorsesHealingHeroes

And please LIKE Equine Wellness on Facebook and help us spread the word about equine rescues! Facebook.com/EquineWellnessMagazine

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