I am asked why Horses? And why Soldiers? – First off let me tell you a little about myself and growing up as a kid. I was a middle child of six children. My father was career Navy and retired after 22 years as a Chief. He was a submariner in WWII and I believe suffered from what they called back then “shell shocked” or “battle fatigue”. Now days we call it PTSD. I have seen and lived with those suffering from this condition. I recognized some of those same symptoms in a friend of mine who had returned home from the Gulf War and was suffering from PTSD. I offered my help, my farm and my horses as a way to heal. There were times he would just sit with them, not talking, but communicating none the less and feel peace. During that time he stopped self-harming and his drinking lessened. Several years ago while attending a seminar for Veterans suffering from PTSD, TBI, and MST; I recognized these same symptoms. They showed a soldier from the Iraqi war and how he was suffering from PTSD. I realized that my father, my friend and this young soldier all suffered from the same thing. These soldiers were alone and bound in their isolation. I realized the powerful healing my horses had on my friend and through having access to them; he was able to find an unconditional acceptance that invited him back into the fellowship of life. With the encouragement from my Uncle, retired Colonel Ed Dauksz, who is a board member, and a highly decorated Vietnam Veteran, and a recipient of The Night of Heroes” award. I started H3-Horses Healing Heroes.
Our vision is that every veteran or active military will have access to these services, to regain their emotional strength and confidence. Research shows that holding negative emotions for a long period of time can cause stress and anxiety and turn into depression. Horses can help alleviate anxiety and build confidence for dealing with problems. We are in the process of building cabins on our 50 acres so our soldiers can come out and camp for a few days in the country. They can work with the horses and find a place to decompress and relax. We are also in our infancy with our Organic Therapy Program which offers both a psychological benefit as well as a physical way to supply fresh food.