An immersive "re-boot" camp using rescued wild mustangs to help veterans transition from military to civilian life.
Sometimes we save animals.
Sometimes they save us.
War Horse Creek is a comprehensive retraining program using equestrian therapy to help veterans transition from the military to the civilian world. Our program will provide life skills training, education and career guidance with a focus on post-traumatic growth. It will reframe the military experience to be more beneficial in civilian life.
The immersive program is unlike any other. It will enable our clinicians to identify those at greatest risk - many of whom aren't aware they're experiencing symptoms of Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic brain injury (TBI) - and to provide guidance as they reintegrate back into the world.
We meet the veteran on their terms, and offer them a way to process their military experiences among peers who understand them.
VETERANS IN CRISIS
It's no secret that many veterans struggle upon their return to civilian life. Despite billions in increased federal, state and private spending on veterans' mental health issues, suicide rates are on the rise - particularly among 18-29 year olds.
The Veterans Administration and Department of Defense generally provide traditional "talk therapies" and medication to help veterans deal with PTSD and TBI. However, many veterans are reluctant to engage in talk therapies, and pharmaceuticals have their limits, including risk of addiction.
What is needed is a way to get to the root causes of the problems, and avoid the alienation and downward spiral that so many veterans experience when they come home.
PLIGHT OF THE MUSTANG
Mustangs are under siege across the West. Currently about 45,000 wild horses have been rounded up from public lands and now languish in Bureau of Land Management pens. Recently, an advisory board to the BLM recommended all horses be sold off or destroyed. They rejected the recommendation, for now, but the clock is ticking.
Mustangs are ideal for equine therapy. They are, in effect, highly sensitive 1,200-pound biofeedback mechanisms. Horses sense and respond to a person's intentions, physicality and emotions, mirroring back subconscious issues so they may be identified and addressed.
Veterans cannot use force or intimidation with a wild horse. They must learn to remain calm, control their state, and earn the horse's trust.
A SYMBOLIC BOND
Many mustangs descended from horses bred for the military, then turned out to the wilderness when they were no longer needed. Only the strongest survived, due to their strength, resourcefulness and hyper-vigilance – characteristics they share with our veterans.
These common traits can create a connection between veteran and horse, often leading to a marked transformation for each.
We want our program to change the public perception of wild mustangs from tragic burden to highly valuable resource.
And we believe it is fitting that descendants of the horses that carried our forefathers into battle will now help bring our warfighters home.