LIFE

Watch Therapy Horses Provide Help For Veterans Struggling With Invisible Wounds

by Anna Halkidis
Anna is a native New Yorker who loves concerts, travel, good coffee, and her Jack Russell terrier, Charlie. She’s a multimedia journalist who earned her master’s degree from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Her true passion for telling stories keeps her inspired.

Like many veterans, former master sergeant Bobby Farmer was emotionally scarred when he returned home from the Army.

“No one goes to war and comes back unscathed,” he tells National Geographic. “I was in special operations in Iraq and Afghanistan for the majority of the war. There was no coping.”

Yet, he says he’s been healed by participating in equine therapy at Boulder Crest Retreat in Bluemont, VA. Like service dogs, which accompany their owners everywhere, horses also help veterans deal with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the “invisible wounds” they have.

According to statistics, 20 percent of veterans from the Iraqi war and 11 percent from the war in Afghanistan suffer from PTSD.

Despite a common belief that equine therapy simply involves a person riding a horse, the clip shows other methods. At the 2:24 mark, for example, Farmer blindfolds himself for an interesting exercise.

One more veteran in the clip also attests to the power of equine therapy, which is expected to help a person learn more about him or herself.

“What I find magical about horses is how they mirror you, how you’re feeling,” Ryan Mangus says. “You might not know that you’re feeling that way, but you go in there with the horses and they’ll let you know and it will remind you to say ‘settle down, breathe, get grounded, and everything is going to be OK.’”

Watch the incredible clip below and please SHARE to show the power of equine therapy!

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