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Sunday, 06 February 2011

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ImageWe tip our virtual 10-gallon hat to Horses for Heroes, a unique wellness and voc rehab “horse therapy” program, based in Santa Fe, NM, that’s free to veterans and active military who’ve sustained injuries or combat trauma during their service.

From the get-go, the veterans work with the horses, from ground work to riding. They also learn other aspects of ranch life, including working cattle and, most importantly, experiencing the camaraderie they’ve been missing, this time with cowboys who are Veterans themselves.

There’s a terrific write-up of the program here by Phil Parker of the Albuquerque Journal.

Located on the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway at the Crossed Arrows Ranch, it’s led by Director and Trainer Rick Ianucci (plse show terrifying guy shown here: (  and an impressive staff.  It’s the only program of its kind to be partnered with the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

I learned about the program from Sgt Andy Brandi, USMC, combat trauma advisor and author of The Warrior’s Guide to Insanity. His website also pulls no punches and offers a lot of help to wounded warriors too.

For more info, you can call 505.798.2535 or e-mail Cowboy up and happy trails!

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Comments (2)Add Comment
written by AP, May 27, 2011
Ms. BR- we also have a Horses for Heroes Program here in Wentzville, MO that I've been attending for almost a year now. I am an OIF vet with PTSD from both combat and MST. I absolutely love it, but seem to have transfered my hyper-vigilance from the outside world now to the horse, I notice every single movement, every twitch, every nod of an ear.(I also do this with my PTSD service dog). The PT's and OT's said they've never seen a rider like me. It's very strange. Anything you can suggest for me to stop this or should I just accept that's where I am in my recovery.
written by Donna, July 07, 2011
Reminds me of a local program for children. There is a program in Northeast PA called Marley's Mission providing Horse Therapy for children who have experienced trauma and abuse: "Marley’s Mission is a non-profit organization that provides equine-based therapy free of charge to children, and their families, who have experienced trauma. Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) has shown evidenced-based efficacy in patients who have experience abuse and now suffer with depression, anxiety and other symptoms as a result of abuse. Research and observational findings have shown EAP yields a variety of psychotherapeutic benefits such as: confidence; self-efficacy; self-concept; communication; anxiety reduction, and most importantly… trust." (

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