Horses Help Local Veterans, First Responders Heal from Trauma

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Memorial Day weekend reminded us of the soldiers who have given their lives and also allowed us to appreciate those still with us.

War can change a person and have lifelong affects on those who have served.

A local organization uses rescued horses to help bring “hope” to our heroes.

Most of us can only imagine the whirlwind of emotions when heading home from war.

“It’s a really hard transition,” David Trogdon, the HOPE Project’s director, said. “Especially if you’re struggling with combat stress or PTSD,” he said.

Some people look to horses for help. The veterans say that the horses help them recover.

Horses aren’t only their medication, but also their friends. “It puts you in a place of ease because you put your trust in these animals as big as they are,” Michael Keener, said.

“Taking care of the horses kind of gave me a purpose,” Trogdon said.

They’re a responsibility, dependent on their caretakers, and more human than we may think.

“They’re just like us. They have good days and they have bad days,” Keener said.

Most of the horses at the HOPE Project were rescued.

Beau and Hammer here were close to being put down before the hope project found them.

“They’ve been saved just as much as the veterans have,” Keener said.

They don’t only bring hope to veterans and first responders.

“They work really well with kids. We’ve had kids with autism come out,” Trogdon said.

They’ll hug anyone on a tough day. If you want to get involved, visit http://thehopeprojects.org. 

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