As memories of America’s involvement in the Middle East begin to fade, many of our nation’s veterans continue to face mental health challenges related to their service, but Operation Warrior Resolution (OWR) is offering innovative therapy approaches to heal trauma, including introducing these heroes to trained therapy horses, made possible by a $2,500 grant from State Farm.
OWR, an organization that provides holistic treatments for veterans and their families, has partnered with Bradenton-based SMART Riders to provide a one-of-a-kind equine therapy program in our region.
The Healing through Horses program is an experiential learning initiative that uses un-mounted equine-assisted activities to aid in physical and emotional healing. Studies have shown that equine-assisted programs are an effective therapeutic technique that can benefit veterans physically, emotionally, spiritually, and vocationally.
“When someone is struggling with their mental health, their body and mind is in a constant state of stress,” says Kendra Simpkins, Founder of Operation Warrior Resolution and Army veteran. “Equine therapy is one big tool we have for helping to rewire the parasympathetic nervous system. Beyond the physical benefits, being around horses helps a person explore their feelings, build trust, and improve confidence.”
The State Farm grant will allow veterans the opportunity to connect with these majestic creatures that always respond honestly, without judgment, and without an agenda. Working with horses can address connection and communication deficits, re-engaging caring feelings and mutual trust and respect in a relationship. The program also helps veterans to decrease feelings of isolation and loneliness, as well as help participants start reestablishing relationship skills.
The program is part of wider efforts by Operation Warrior Resolution to help heal the unseen wounds of military members through innovative therapeutic methods. The organization hosts multiple five-day-long therapeutic resilience retreats with licensed mental health professionals a year.
To find out more about Operation Warrior Resolution and support their efforts to transform veterans to health and wholeness, visit http://www.operationwarriorresolution.org/