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Farm Offers Horseback Riding Therapy For Vets with PTSD

A New York farm is offering horseback riding as a form of therapy to veterans suffering from mental and emotional wounds like post-traumatic stress disorder. The farm offers veterans free horseback-riding lessons, as a way for them to relax and take their minds off their memories of war. Participants say the calm helps reduce anxiety.

Seaside Therapeutic Riding says that the horse and human bond is renowned for its healing quality, and that a horse's non-judgmental acceptance allows students, including veterans and disabled adults and children, to learn and to grow. The therapy is popular — the farm currently has a waiting list, and relies on donations to give the experience to more veterans.

The horse riding therapy sounds much more comforting than the Iraq war simulation video game therapy, which calls for prolonged virtual-exposure to the source of the trauma (including smells and sounds). Which idea sounds more promising to you?


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fuzzles fuzzles 9 years
Gotta hit the sheets. But if I can tell anyone anything, I wouldn't be here without the love of a skinny, dirty, matted, neglected, stray cat that I adopted from a shelter. A better day to all! :)
Z-E-R-O Z-E-R-O 9 years
sounds good to me :)
MrsJigglesworth MrsJigglesworth 9 years
very nice plan :)
fuzzles fuzzles 9 years
Zero, I agree, 100%. If I could snap my fingers, make a wish, and wake up tommorow with all of these shelter pets being given to capable vet care takers, with a little assistance from the pet food companies...well, I'm sure it would be a better world for all.
Z-E-R-O Z-E-R-O 9 years
Yes, fuzzles, I also heard a story about how many shelters are flooded because people are having to move out of their homes and into apartments etc. and not able to care for/keep their pets. :( Animal assisted therapy and equine therapy is something I surely believe in. I hope the government adequately provides for these vets. It's hard for me to understand why their mental heath is many times not a top priority.
fuzzles fuzzles 9 years
Just the other day, a friend of mine was telling me of a blip on our local news about shelter animals. One particular shelter, and not a no-kill variety, has over 150 homeless cats at just one of it's locations. With the economy being what it is, the surrendering of animals is a very real and unfortunate trend. Being a benificiary of dog and cat love for most of my life, I hate to see these potential human/animal bonds not be realized.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 9 years
I have a friend who's dad was in Vietnam, and he would tell me the most horrific stories of his childhood that resulted from his dad's PTSD. If these sorts of programs were available to him I'm sure he'd still be with us today.
Bettyjane Bettyjane 9 years
I think this is really amazing. The vets should get any kind of therapy they need and more alternatives such as this should be available to them. Animals really do help people in amazing ways.
kia kia 9 years
This sounds great. ANYTHING to help these vets deal with PTSD and their paranoia, etc. I like the idea of the animal route vs. the violent video game route. I heard an NPR story earlier this year that there was one therapy dog was in Iraq working for the military to work with soldiers that were suffering from anxiety-related disorders while they were still in combat. This American Life (a public radio show) had an episode two weeks ago titled "Life After Death" and involved an interview with a vet dealing with PTSD and his subsequent jail time as a result of an incident. It was very interesting to me since I don't personally know anyone having to deal with this.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Isn't it amazing what animals give back to us considering what we take from them.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
I can definitely see the therapeutic benefits to the horse riding.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 9 years
Hey Liberty, my comment got flagged, I presume because of a link. Could you check it out and see if it can be posted! Please! It is just a link to a type of therapy being used by the military that worked for me.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 9 years
There isn't one therapy that is better than another for ptsd. There are just therapies that work better for different people. Often, someone has to try several different approaches before finding one that works for them. For me, a therapy called EMDR worked to help me handle my chronic ptsd. EMDR is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It can be done through eye movement or any other repetitive movement, for example, the therapist tapping your knees. Here is a site on the therapy and in it you can find that the military is using this form of therapy on veterans. http://www.emdr.com/
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
thanks tatiana! i used to volunteer at a place like that too, but I guess we weren't that careful. :) i think it looks that way Dave because there's one on each side to catch him and one to lead the horse.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
I looks almost like they got the horse under an armed guard.
tatiana21 tatiana21 9 years
In HS I volunteered at our local horse therapy farm and it was wonderful. I truly believe it helped the children, and the horses had a wonderful life, they were never worked hard, and they had children fawning over them all the time. They are probably leading him with a stud chain to be extra careful because the man in the picture has probably never ridden before, and also the horse doesn't have on a bridle. His ears aren't back so he is probably okay :)
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
i have not heard of any of that! thanks for the info, Foxie!
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
I don't care what therapy vets need. We need to make sure they get it.
foxie foxie 9 years
I'm sure it will help, it seems like horse riding is great therapy for a lot of conditions. Plus, hopefully service members and vets will be more motivated to seek out therapy when it comes from horses. Riding horses certainly seems better than sitting with a therapist, in any case. Kris, the military has a long history of unnecessarily performing vivisection on animals. My base hospital houses over 50 lab animals. Service members are also forced to kill small animals during aircrew training. Medical training in the military involves inflicting fatal injuries on goats and pigs so soldiers can practice various techniques (which is, of course, NOT the way civilian counterparts learn medicine). If you'd like more information, HSUS.org has an article on just this subject on their front page.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 9 years
Hear hear Foxy. But I serious hope that this therapy can assist these men and women in receiving some comfort from the trauma of war and their PTSD. My sister and I were just talking about how to rank the severity of the PTSD suffered by my dad and his brothers during Viet Nam. My dad's was mild most of the time but he would have bad periods where he was right back in the Delta. Two of my uncles thanks to my dad's efforts were office bound in Viet Nam during the conflict but the youngest was in the thick of it, in the jungles fighting hand to hand and he was in charge of collecting the bodies and body parts of his fallen comrades - was devastating to him. When my dad and his brother's hooked up in Viet Nam the others realized that the youngest was truly messed up by the intense action he'd seen and demanded that he and the second youngest brother be sent home. They were but the damage was done. My uncle Greg never received any counseling and is barely functional. He's in his own personal hell on a daily basis. But my dad's two other surviving brothers make sure that he and his family are taken care of and that Greg is treated as gingerly as possible by the outside world and by family who don't understand the trauma he experienced in Viet Nam. This uncle rarely ever speaks at all to this day. I always hopes that PTSD would be recognized as a real condition and that the military would be proactive in helping soldiers recover if the can ever recover from such an injury.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
horseback riding is great therapy! i'm not sure what you mean foxie, about the military treating animals a certain way, but that main pic looks a little uncomfortable for the horse. why are they leading him with a stud chain? his poor widdle nose!
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
I think different therapies work better for different people and it's impossible to say that one is necessarily better than another. That being said, I've heard that horseback riding is great therapy; a friend of mine has used it for her autistic son and he loves it.
foxie foxie 9 years
Animals benefit humans' lives much more when they're loved and befriended rather than used like objects. If only the military itself treated animals with just a modicum of mercy and compassion.
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