Equine Therapy for Disabled Veterans
"Honor is like love. It is a human emotion that, unless experienced, cannot be appreciated" Brad Bertele, President Blackhorse 4 Heroes, Inc.
Horses communicate through body language. This affords veterans a calm, non-judgmental platform where horse and driver work together. Problems seem to disappear when veterans are driving a carriage and communicating with the horse. Whether physically impaired or able-bodied, once a veteran has reins in hand, the horse and the veteran become equal partners. Veterans who have physical disabilities can use a carriage specially adapted to accept a wheelchair. Those with PTSD learn to reduce their stress and relax through the physical exercise of carriage driving.
This program was developed and is staffed with veterans. No one knows the issues facing veterans better than other veterans. You can sit in our veteran only groups and feel comfortable discussing your experiences without judgement. It also surprises many to learn that family is not allowed during our normal sessions, but only on family days. Families are a distraction from healing, because of the stress of failing to reconnect at home is so strong.
Ok, I want to learn more, or volunteer, what do I need to do? Just join our membership. We will advise on training days, veterans sessions, or other events of interest. If you wish to attend, you must register from our events page. There are no costs, but we do operate on donations so feel free to enjoy the tax relief our 501c3 affords by donating today.
Equine Training for Veterans at Blackhorse4Heroes!
"When we first discussed the Hoofin' It for Horse and Healing Adventure, Nate said that he wanted to visit a facility where veterans benefited from the magic and power of horses," said Coakley. "Easy, I said, I want to take you to visit Blackhorse4Heroes when you pass by Connecticut."
After his service in the military, Blackhorse4Heroes Founder Brad Bertele turned his passion for horseback riding and driving into a service to help disabled veterans re-open doors closed by emotional numbness and an inability to connect with friends and family after returning from service.
Nate Kramer in Hoofin' It Blue T-Shirt standing in center next to Brad Bertele in the carriage with veterans and volunteers at a training session.
"Horses don't have agendas," said Bertele. "They don't care where you live or where you come from. As prey animals, they rely on their senses for survival. So when they trust you, they mean it!"
One of the core facets of the veteran experience is the inability to communicate with once familiar people, places and things. Appropriate responses required in combat are often inappropriate in a non-combat environment but not easily unlearned; likewise, a horse may react adversely to even a simple task such as grooming if approached inappropriately.
Working with horses helps veterans re-learn appropriate social interaction skills and build confidence to re-connect with family and friends. Visit Blackhorse4Heroes HERE and learn more at their annual fundraiser on September 28. 2014.
$7,800 Already Raised! Lauren and Nate's goal is to raise $25,000 to essential funding to reduce the unwanted horse population, retrain horses for multiple careers, and make equine therapy available to more people.
133 Days on the Trail! Lauren and Nathan set out on their journey of a lifetime on April 9 to hike the Appalachian Trail to make a positive impact on their lives and to contribute to their passion - the welfare of horses and their powerful bond with people. Lauren and Nathan are using their own funds and resources to support themselves along the trail. EQUUS Foundation Corporate Partner Ariat International provided the hikers with needed attire.