Many of us have likely heard of the challenges facing today’s veterans in receiving adequate mental health care. Of the 2.5 million troops deployed since 2001 in the Global War on Terror, about 30% will have a mental health condition requiring treatment. Texas alone is home to about 70,000 of these veterans. Additionally, there are many Vietnam-era veterans in need of mental health services that have had difficulty accessing them over decades. Veterans are most often struggling with PTSD, depression, and probable traumatic brain injury.
If you are not yet familiar with the general benefits of equine assisted counseling, we suggest you visit this page on our website. There are also many unique benefits experienced by service members and veterans in equine assisted counseling:
- Many veterans can relate to horses’ “fight-or-flight” mentality. Horses are great at modeling how one can be aware of the surroundings and respond to potential threats and then return to a calm state once the threat is over, something that many veterans with PTSD have difficulty with.
- Like horses in a herd, veterans can relate to the cohesiveness of being in military unit. The idea of needing to trust and work well with the group in order to survive is relatable for a lot of military personnel.
- The herd hierarchical organization is similarly experienced through military rankings.
- Relational difficulties experienced with people will be similarly experienced with horses. One of the most common challenges our veteran clients report is in their relationships with their families, friends, and even coworkers. Being able to work through those difficulties with the horse can be the first step to better relationships outside of counseling.
To find out more about Operation Hoofbeat and our programs for military and their families, please contact us or visit the Operation Hoofbeat website.