Each Friday, Horse Nation teams up with Ovation Riding to spotlight an individual or organization doing good work in the horse industry. Today, we’re recognizing Heroes and Horses, serving veterans from our military.
Heroes and Horses, in its own words, “is a unique program that uses the remote wilderness and the horse/human connection to challenge and inspire personal growth in veterans suffering from mental and physical scars.” The program is designed to challenge the individual, to remind them of their personal strength and confidence and to use those powers to rebuild their life after combat.
YETI released a video short this week featuring a beautiful and moving glimpse into the world of Heroes and Horses, including words from executive director Micah Fink. (Due to some strong language, this video should be considered NSFW.)
We featured Heroes and Horses on HN back in 2014 (you can read that full article here). Micah Fink kindly answered our questions and provided some insight into what makes Heroes and Horses different from equine-assisted psychotherapy programs for veterans.
“Veterans are coming home and being told they’re sick, they’re given medicine,” Micah described, noting that veterans often have a hard time settling back into the routine of their domestic life. Heroes and Horses addresses veterans’ emotional and physical scars by placing them back into intense scenarios where they need to draw on their personal strength as well as work in a team.
And, of course, there’s the equine aspect: Micah reflected that the bond between horse and rider was amazing to watch, and all of us as equestrians are familiar with the subtle power of the horse to heal. The combination of rugged and remote wilderness, self- and team-reliance and working with the animals has proven to be a powerful and life-changing force for many veterans feeling otherwise lost after their time in service.
Heroes and Horses pays for 100% of each veteran’s experience, relying on donations and fundraisers as well as the direct donation of horses and equipment. Learn more about Heroes and Horses and make a donation online, and “like” the program on Facebook for updates and photos.
Many thanks thanks to Ovation Riding for their support of both Horse Nation and individuals and organizations that are doing good work in the horse world. If you know someone who deserves a Standing Ovation, we would love to recognize them in a future post. Email the name of the person or organization along with a message about the good work they do to [email protected] Photos/videos are always welcome, and include a link to their website if applicable.