Since 2010 thousands of veterans and their families have walked into the Reins of Hope arenas and found the only safe space they know. Today, service men and women face serious re-integration challenges and traumas that can lead to tragic consequences. 22 veterans a day, on average, take their lives.
Reins of Hope is a local non-profit offering equine-assisted mental health services throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura County. The H.O.P.E. for Warriors program addresses the challenge of treating the effects of trauma by using qualities and sensitivities of the horse in an alternative therapeutic form.
Because horses are prey and herd animals, they are highly attuned to subliminal energy and hyper-alert to their environment, similar to those suffering from PTSD.
Like horses, veterans on the battlefield experience extra anxiety and awareness of threats that can be a lifesaver. When veterans return home, many can’t leave that mindset and their instincts prevent them from living in the civilian world.
Michael, an Army captain who did two tours in Iraq, was one of them, he stated.
“Resilience is not just a buzzword, it’s a way of life. Equine therapy saved my life. I was broken and depressed and after 6 years of gradually going downhill physically and mentally, I had no idea what to expect from therapy. I figured I was going to wash horses and do farm work. If you have never been hugged by a horse, I highly recommend it. I don’t know what happened in that arena, I just know it works.”
Support those still living with the effects of combat and donate to H.O.P.E. for Warriors Program online at www.reinsofhopevc.org or 633-9199.