Therapeutic Riding Center Working To Help Veterans With PTSD

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Post-Traumatic Stress disorder is one of the biggest mental health issues facing our nation’s veterans.

Every Monday, a unique horse ranch east of Columbus opens its door to struggling vets.

Bill Hutchinson served in the Navy from 1972 to 1975. He and Bo, a 1,600 pound quarter horse, are buds.

"Me leaning against him it just pulls away the tension," Hutchinson said.

Tension he says from service in the Navy 40-years ago.

“I got caught up with not doing anything just sitting around," he said.

But thanks to the Breaking Free Horse farm, Hutchison's says his days of feeling isolated from the world are no longer part of his life.

He says without this farm he would likely be more dependent on medication.

The same is true for 32-year-old Gordon Mictintire.

"I fought in 2003 in Baghdad I was there it felt like an eternity," he said.

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Those invisible wounds of war become a distant memory, at least temporarily.

"So many things can happen in a short period of time that can affect you for the rest of your life,” Mictintire said. “You remember it every day and avoiding it just piles on the problems so getting help was the first step and programs like this keep you going.”

The non-profit ranch opens its doors to veterans for free every week.

"The horse has a way of just reading them the horse can read your body language," Founder Linda Lake said. "One of the biggest thing we see is they start to trust.”

With trust she says comes healing.

“I know it's working because they're coming back," Lake said.

This therapeutic riding program is only a year old, but it's already attracted 14 veterans. And the veterans who come say they can see a difference in themselves.

"My family noticed a difference; I've noticed a difference," Don Mosely a Navy Veteran who served in Iraq from 2005-2006, said.

All made possible by a quiet ride in the country on horseback.

The Breaking Free Ranch is looking for donated horses to help expand its therapeutic riding center.

 

Related Information:

Breaking Free Riding Center - www.breakingfreeriding.org

Therapeutic Riding Centers- www.pathintl.org/path-intl-centers/find-center

Research On Equine Therapy - www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22781543