Horse Side Vet Guide
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Through grants and partnerships, we are able to offer a limited number of scholarships to veterans. These partnerships allow us to provide free riding lessons to eligible veterans. Loving Thunder is the only program in New Mexico able to offer this exclusive FREE Riding Program.
Veterans have expressed many benefits to being around the horses to help them with their PTSD and other challenges. They have seen changes in their ability to stay in the moment and to have reduced episodes of flashbacks. They have expressed a decrease in sleeplessness and the need for medications to address their anxieties. They have expressed a reduction in anger and temper outburst even after leaving the barn environment. These changes are a real benefit to them and their families.
Many of our veterans have transitioned into volunteers for our program and continue to experience the "Horsey" benefits.
Working with the veterans has given us a new found respect for what our veterans have endured while protecting our country. We can't imagine being where they have been, but WE CAN SHARE OUR HORSES WITH THEM. After all, our horses are the best therapists around without even trying. They simply are horses being horses.
I have been riding here at Loving Thunder for a few months now and it has been a WONDERFUL experience. The calming effect the horses have is amazing and helps keep me grounded. Loving Thunder has helped me connect with my loved ones and opening doors for me to connect with the community. Twuana, Mike and Loving Thunder as a whole are very professional and supportive. Thank you Laramie (my horse) and Loving Thunder.
Like many veterans, I came home from Iraq with "invisible injuries". I was always looking behind me, hyper sensitive to my environment, couldn't deal with crowds and often family. I was quick to anger and slow to focus. I tried going to group sessions at the VA and it just made things worse. Medications could only do so much. I didn't know how I was going to make and really didn't care if I did. I saw equine therapy on http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org and figured I might as well give it a try. I knew I was more comfortable in wide open spaces. Horses had to better than what I'd been doing with the VA, and WWP was willing to pay for lessons. The first lesson I was really nervous because I didn't know how to work with this half-ton hero, but I noticed I felt more relaxed when I left. When it was time for my next lesson, I realized that I was looking forward to going and I hadn't felt that in a long time. I felt a little better every time I went to the ranch and eventually started volunteering because I couldn't ride enough to keep that feeling going. Now the ranch is where I go to get away from everything and reset. They say that PTSD will never be cured; you just have to learn how to cope. The horses are the best therapist I've worked with so far. It may not be a cure, but this is going to help me cope for a long time.
I came to the program a little over 6 months ago and all I can say is that it has done wonderful things for me. Thanks to Mike, Twuana, and Wounded Warrior project I was able to try a new form of therapy. As it turns out equine therapy has been the single greatest therapeutic benefit since my return from Iraq. I am very grateful for their time, and selfless dedication to the program and the empowerment of others who could use the helping hand. Thanks Loving Thunder!
I have been riding with Loving Thunder since April and have many new opportunities made abailable to me in my personal life. First of all through the experience of riding a horse with an instructor I have gained confidence in my current physical abilities in my daily life. This is through the power of love, caring, and perseverence of the volunteer staff at Loving Thunder. They have been able to help give me a hand up in life without it being a hand out. Secondly they have opened the doors to their lives and allowed me to become a productive member of the volunteer team and care for the horses and help with the riders. They have supported me so I can give back to the community and help others with disabilities to gain a meaningful, joyful experience in their lives. Thirdly, they continue to support me with compassion and caring each and every time I go to the ranch. They are right there to offer support, space, love, and fellowship when my PTSD has given me challenges. They are truly a blessing to the special needs community and I am feeling more whole in life and am no longer lacking a sense of community, or the isolation and despair that, all too often, comes with my PTSD.
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