A Helping Hoof is an extension of a therapy center concept, but it is a long-term solution. The horse will go home with the Wounded Warrior (WW), similar to a Seeing Eye dog. That horse will be at his/her disposal for whenever they choose to ride. Trainers across the U.S. will donate their time to specially train these horses to accommodate the WW.
To prevent any burden on the Wounded Warrior, a boarding stable in proximity to the WW will provide full care for the horse. I have had several spinal surgeries and was told that I would never ride a horse again. The pain and the limitations I could live with, but to never ride a horse again was the same as taking away my oxygen. So my words to the doctor were ‘watch me’. Today, when I ride my horse the pain and limitations disappear, and for those precious moments, I am whole again.
In addition, this foundation will solve another pervasive problem by primarily using rescue horses. Unfortunately, there are countless horses out there who have been abused and/or neglected. A horse’s treatment is directly proportional to his value to the owner. Once that animal becomes invaluable to the WW, they will get a permanent home and will be cherished for life.In essence, they will save each other.
This organization is not limited to physical limitations, but PTSD as well. I have never been on the battlefield, but I have suffered with PTSD to the point of hospitalization. It was very hard work to recover, and my horse was an integral part of that process. Somehow working with that horse brought me back and grounded me again.
The other fantastic benefit of this organization will be the ripple effect in the community. Not only are we giving that WW hundreds of hours to feel ‘whole’ and normal again, but it will affect everyone who knows them. For example, if a WW is happier, his wife will get her husband back, he will become more like the man who left for the war. The WW’s children will have a parent who is not as frustrated or angry. All those that participate in supporting the organization will be uplifted. They will feel that in some small way they are showing their appreciation to that individual who made such a tremendous sacrifice for our freedom.
- In essence, they will save each other.
“There is something about the inside of a horse, that is good for the outside of a man.”
— Winston Churchill
of military personnel die at their own hand
veterans die every day from suicide
every sixty five minutes another son or daughter, husband or wife, father or mother dies senselessly