Military families meet therapy horses
Thursday, July 12, 2012, 4:36:21 PM
Horses are just entering the ranks of animals used in therapy and physical rehabilitation, but military families in Minnesota will get a special opportunity to meet these equines thanks to RideAbility in Byron, Minnesota, KIMT News reports.
The organization trains horses to assist children with special needs, but military families were recently invited to the farm for a day of fun, the news outlet reports. The event celebrates the nonprofit organization's recent collaboration with Horses4Heroes, a national organization that has been working since 2006 to provide family-friendly and kid-friendly horeseback riding opportunities. The Horses4Heroes program was created specifically for families of military personnel, veterans and other first responders.
"They just want horse barns across the country to join up with Horses 4 Heroes, and it's a very simple way to serve and to thank our military families," Jeanie Michelizzi, of RideAbility, told the news outlet.
At RideAbility families got free horseback rides, food and wagon rides, and could participate in spirit painting, during which they paint the horses. The animals love the attention, Michelizzi told the publication.
"It's just really heartwarming to see how the country as a whole has gotten behind and realized that the things our military is doing, they may not be in favor of that, but it's still their job and they're supporting their country. And people realize that now," Garry Hoyme, a military member of more than 30 years who brought this family to the event, told the media outlet.
Horses 4 Heroes is not the only organization using horses to help military members recover from physical and psychological wounds of war. In fact, several VA medical centers, including the Lexington VA Medical Center in Kentucky, offer non-traditional therapy sessions with horses that aim to help troops with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injuries.
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