RIDING FREEDOM'S TRAIL
AMERICA THE BRAVE
The Wild Heart Mustangs logo features a strong symbol of something we feel passionate about - the American flag. The freedom that Americans enjoy has never been free. It's been defended and preserved by countless military men and women who've given their time, energy, strength, heart - and sometimes their lives - in the name of freedom.
This page is dedicated to those in the military now, and in the past, and to the families who watched, waited and prayed for the safety of their loved ones. Let us never forget those who have served this great country. Thank you ALL for your service!
Saratoga WarHorse offers veterans a three-day experience that has proven to be effective and invaluable for those struggling to adjust to life after military service. The program is provided at no cost to the veterans.
Through their "Connection Process", an interactive experience is created between off-the-track Thoroughbreds and veterans. By utilizing the silent language of the horse, a mutual trust and profound bond is established that goes beyond verbal communication.
Their personalized approach provides each individual with a unique experience that helps to release stress. The Connection Process varies with each horse-to-veteran interaction, but through careful guidance by skilled instructors, the process remains predictable, sequential and repeatable.
Researchers are expressing a growing interest in the Saratoga WarHorse methodology and are trying to determine why the Connection Process is so effective in reducing symptoms of depression and posttraumatic stress as well as suicidal thoughts.
Saratoga WarHorse creates a win-win situation for veterans and off-the-track Thoroughbreds by providing an effective alternative method for healing emotional wounds and offering the horses rewarding and meaningful work after their racing careers have ended.
"World-Class Veterans. World-Class Horses" Warriors of a different kind, brought together to help each other. Each making a difference.
Saratoga WarHorse has two locations. One in Saratoga Springs, NY and the other in Aiken, SC.
For information on how to enroll with Saratoga WarHorse or for a list of upcoming classes at both locations, click on the photo below.
Testimonial taken from Saratoga WarHorse.com
“I’ve been through two painful divorces. I’ve made two attempts at suicide. I have PTSD. I enlisted in the Marine Corps when I was eighteen. When I got out, I still wanted to do more for my country so I enlisted in the Air Force and became an Aircraft Maintenance Officer. I served in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm with the 1st Fighter Wing and continued to serve around the world until I retired in 2003 after 21 years of service.
PTSD is sneaky, one day you’re fine and the next you’re lost. But finally, the path is making some sense. I’ve learned that the healing comes from the inside and the journey never ends. Several months ago, at the end of one of those lost days, I came across a You Tube video about Saratoga WarHorse. I called Bob Nevins and an hour later he offered me the opportunity to experience the program first-hand.
On a cold January day, I found myself in a 50-foot round pen with 1200 pounds of whirling racehorse. I was breathing hard with intensity and excitement at the same time. The horse’s snorting mirrored my thumping heartbeat. I moved my horse as I’d been instructed and was surprised to find I felt a familiarity, like being back in the military and tasked with a mission.
The big chestnut horse began to respond to my body cues and we moved together around the pen. When I slowed to a walk, he followed suit. I felt as if time was standing still. We were rhythmically breathing together and when I slowly turned my shoulder, he came to me. Our connection felt powerful and intimate. Deep down in my soul, I know the connection I made that day, with a warrior in his own right, has changed my life.”
VETERANS HEALING FARM
Posted on March 22, 2015 by Carrie Eidson
This article was published in the
2015 Mountain Xpress Get It Guide
Veterans Healing Farm is a nonprofit community farm in Hendersonville, NC. The farm grows vegetables and hops and even has a community supported agriculture program. But founder John Mahshie says that farming is really just a means to an end. The real goal of Veterans Healing Farm is therapeutic — it addresses the high rate of veteran suicide by helping returning veterans reintegrate into civilian life.
“The military is very tight-knit,” says Mahshie, himself an Air Force veteran. “There’s a lot of community opportunities because everybody is going through a similar experience, and even when you’re relocated, the new community is very welcoming. It’s not as easy to plug into a new community in civilian culture.”
Like many veterans, Mahshie says he also experienced isolation when he left the service. But he soon realized the rejuvenative value of the exercise, healthy eating and time spent in the sun that comes with farming. Not to mention the potential for interaction with others. At Veterans Healing Farm, Mahshie invites civilians, other veterans, families, students and seniors to work at the farm, introducing returning veterans to a diverse selection of their new community. “It’s a natural fit for this sort of healing,” he says.
Though Mahshie studied horticulture after his time in the service and started his own agriculture-based business before founding VHF, he says the goal of the farm isn’t to teach veterans to become farmers.
“Other programs emphasize occupation, teaching veterans a skill set that they can use as a basis for a new career, but what we create is an environment that focuses on personal development,” Mahshie says. “If you have someone who is emotionally, mentally or psychologically unhealthy, and all you give them is financial health, then the money can actually lead to bigger problems down the road. You have to help them heal in those other areas first.”
And perhaps more importantly, Mahshie says, Veterans Healing Farm’s new garden (three times larger than its members plot) grows food entirely for donation — giving veterans a sense of purpose and a reason to break out of isolation and connect with others.
“These folks have a strong desire to serve,” Mahshie says. “They are very mission-minded; they want to give back. The new garden allows them to serve people in need, and it allows us to build relationships with them.”
This issue of the WILD HEART MUSTANGS™
e-zine is DEDICATED to:
e-zine is DEDICATED to:
ANIMALS IN WAR MEMORIAL
Hyde Park, London
Beneath the main header, "Animals in War", the memorial has two separate inscriptions;
the first and larger reads:
"This monument is dedicated to all the animals
that served and died alongside British and allied forces
in wars and campaigns throughout time."
The second, smaller inscription simply reads:
"They had no choice."
Upon the rear or outside of the memorial are these words:
"Many and various animals were employed to support British and Allied Forces in wars and campaigns over the centuries, and as a result millions died. From the pigeon to the elephant, they all played a vital role in every region of the world in the cause of human freedom. Their contribution must never be forgotten."
RESOURCES for VETERANS
Saratoga WarHorse (Saratoga Springs, NY and Aiken, SC) - http://www.saratogawarhorse.com/ Saratoga WarHorse is a nonprofit organization assisting veterans who are suffering from invisible, psychological wounds by providing a confidential, peer-to-peer, action based, equine-assisted experience that initiates immediate and empowering changes.
Veterans Healing Farm (Hendersonville, NC) - http://veteranshealingfarm.org/ Transitioning from military life back into the civilian sector is a challenge all veterans face. Unfortunately, many veterans lack the adequate tools and resources needed to meet this challenge. The results are an alarmingly high rate of veteran suicide, depression, divorce, homelessness, and substance abuse. We exist to aid our nation's veterans through what is perhaps the most challenging aspect of the military experience: Coming Home.
We help empower veterans reintegrating into civilian life by growing produce, raising farm animals, and conducting seminars on holistic health and sustainability. Additionally, we foster a thriving micro-community of veterans and civilians who build deep friendships, implement innovative gardening techniques, and help cultivate emotional, physical, and spiritual health.
Mustang Mentors (Texas) - The Mustang Mentor Program supports Veterans through providing a wild horse training experience. With the help of the Mustang Heritage Foundation, veterans choose a Bureau of Land Management wild horse, untouched by humans, and transform the horse in approximately 100 days to a gentle, adoptable animal. The veteran experiences the transformation from "wild to mild" within the horse. The previously wild horses are then placed into adoptive homes. Veterans learn marketable vocational skills and gain on the job training for a future occupation in the equine industry, if they choose.