A dear friend of mine (that I don’t see enough) is one of the key players for this amazing program: Saddles for Soldiers helps veterans and their families cope with the stress of returning home from combat, long-term depression, and re-entry issues…by using the best tool on the planet…HORSES!
With a team of a professional mental health worker and horse experts, healing on physical and emotional levels occurs as the bond between rider and mount grows–it is not too much of a stretch to say miracles happen in the saddle. Shadow Hills Riding Club, in the San Fernando Valley, specializes in several therapeutic equine programs as well as general riding and truly inspiring arts programs involving horses (actors’ workshops, mounted theatre productions, etc). When I last visited I was lucky enough to watch a session with a child with Down’s syndrome who was absolutely reveling in the joy of being in the saddle. Equine therapy is a true, meaningful science that makes hearts soar while having measurable, actual healing effects. I’ve ridden at barns on the East Coast that were also involved in therapeutic riding programs that had amazing results. Shadow Hills Riding Club is even exploring blending twelve-step recovery programs with riding. This is work, in all the many directions they are taking it, that is breaking boundaries in so many ways. The potential is outstanding, and your support can make a huge difference for how many people they can reach. I know it’s a safe bet you’ve probably given a lot of donations at the end of the year, and might be smarting in the wallet from holiday spending…but look around the website, see what’s going on in the riding ring, and I promise you’ll be moved.
Link to a great video after the break.