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Equine-Assisted Therapy (non-mounted) - "Horses For Heroes"

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  • Equine-Assisted Therapy (non-mounted) - "Horses For Heroes"

    My father is a peer support worker for veterans of the Canadian forces who suffer from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and other related issues. He has been trying to start a "Horses For Heroes" program for several years now, with now luck. Our local therapeutic riding group won't even give him the time of day when he's tried getting in touch in hopes of getting a contact for someone who can help him set the program up.

    I'm considering donating use of my pony once a week for him to bring small groups of his clients to do things like lead him around, brush him, spend time with him, etc. He's not riding safe, but on the ground I'd trust him with the smallest child or frailest person. Dad's work would pay for any insurance needed to cover him/the guys/my pony/me/the barn/BO/etc, and the BO has already agreed to let them come out if it actually goes through.

    I know nothing about equine-assisted therapy in a clinical sense. I've volunteered with the therapeutic riding group, but it's entirely different than what we'd be doing as it focuses on the physical therapy of riding versus the emotional/psychological therapy that Horses For Heroes is more designed for.

    Has anyone had any experience with non-mounted equine-assisted therapy, or just has some ideas for how we could go about doing it? We'd like some sort of structure, because the clients do best in a structured environment, but I can't picture what it'd look like... Thoughts?
    Curious about Trans* issues? Feel free to ask!
    Saving Pennies To Get My Own Canoe

  • #2
    There are some organizations that should be of assistance. Try Google searching on terms such as equine assisted therapy, equine facilitated learning, and hippotherapy, or wounded warriors.
    ETA links:

    Last edited by sdlbredfan; May. 4, 2013, 09:51 PM. Reason: add useful URLs
    RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.


    • #3
      I volunteered at a therapeutic riding place awhile back. Yes, a lot of it was about the physical therapy of riding piece, but another area was about relating to the horse as another being, tuning in, being present--all things that grooming, handling, and groundwork are excellent for.

      You and I may take it for granted, but for those who have never had a close encounter with a 1000 lb animal( who does not think or act like a familiar species like a cat or dog),grooming, handling, groundwork, can be extraordinary experiences---and very healing and revealing.

      So yeah--that pony (though probably not 1000 pounds!) may be the best teacher/healer of them all.
      Last edited by gingerbread; May. 4, 2013, 09:53 PM. Reason: add something


      • #4
        Try this organization. Joanne Moss is wonderful!
        \"Go anywhere in England where there are natural, wholesome, contented, and really nice English people; and what do you always find? That the stables are the real center of the household.\" - George Brenard Shaw


        • #5
          Originally posted by Kuegel View Post
          Try this organization. Joanne Moss is wonderful!
          Wow, Awesome! That is even better than what I found, good job!
          RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.


          • Original Poster

            Thanks for the links, I'll pass them on to my dad as well. The pony is question is a 14.1hh draft cross (not positive but I'm thinking most likely percheron/morgan, though have also been told percheron/qh), so he's pretty close to 1000lbs! haha! But he really is great with people when in a non-working environment, so if Dad can use him, I'm happy to oblige!
            Curious about Trans* issues? Feel free to ask!
            Saving Pennies To Get My Own Canoe


            • #7
              I would definitely check with PATH, Intl. Here is their specific info on working with veterans: http://www.pathintl.org/resources-ed...ces-for-heroes. He could also use the search function here: http://www.pathintl.org/path-intl-centers/find-center (just select "Veterans Programs" under the activities section).

              Also, here are a couple of US based programs that might give your dad some guidance or share the story of how they got started: