Veterans Get Assistance from Horses through Equine Therapy Program

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North Dakota’s Sitting Bull College has used horse therapists for the past five years to help veterans who have returned from war with physical, mental or emotional barriers. The college’s Equine Assisted Learning Program helps these men and women overcome those barriers.

Philip Bird Horse, Sitting Bull College horsemanship associate, told KFYR-TV “I truly believe they’ve really learned how to protect themselves and keep themselves safe, and as a people we’ve kind of lost that how to keep ourselves safe, well, emotionally, physically, mentally… I really believe that when we connect with these horses, we connect with our soul, because we have to change so much, you know, whether we like it or not make this connection.”

Therapy
Sitting Bull College’s Equine Assisted Learning Program has been helping veterans for five years. Screenshot via KFYR

Of the veterans who have participated in the program, several have seen improvement. Philip McLaughlin, a former Marine who fought in Desert Storm and returned with a knee injury and PTSD, told KFYR-TV, “I started having nightmares, flash backs and not really understanding what was going on. It was scary. [The horses] sense it. They’re strange beings but they’re helpful.”

Vietnam War Navy veteran Kenny Horsley added, “I’m very anxious a lot and I stress over things too much. It’s a getting back to nature type of thing for me and I just really appreciate it.”

Read more about how horses help veterans >>

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