Saratoga War Horse program uses horses, some that are off the track thoroughbreds, to help veterans who are dealing with the invisible scars of war. The program teaches veterans how to communicate with a horse, an animal that so honestly mirrors the veteran’s energy and emotion.
At the start, both are unsure and untrusting. But within minutes the horse realizes he’s understood that this person is speaking his language. The horse shows a sign of trust. Something about the horse’s acceptance transforms the veteran.
“Whatever emotions I had, whatever I was feeling, at that time inside the ring, I was able to leave it there. I passed through the gate and I felt that I didn’t have to carry it anymore,” said one veteran.
“There’s a lot of pain that these veterans have to find a way to let go of and this seems to be a very effective method,” said Bob Nevins, the Founder of Saratoga War Horse and a veteran himself.
Nevins said the program doesn’t claim to be therapy. It offers an experience that has helped veterans move forward with their lives.