GAIT Welcomes Local Heroes
MILFORD - Horses 4 Heroes is a national program implemented locally by GAIT Therapeutic Riding Center for veterans, active-duty military personnel, first responders, law enforcement officers and their families. Offered free of charge to participants, the program improves the effects of PTSD, stress, anxiety, depression, and burnout through equine-assisted activities and interactions.
GAIT hosted two Horses 4 Heroes events in September, where active-duty military, veterans, and first responders to attend a half-day of equine immersion and camaraderie. Participants were invited to groom a horse and establish a bond, walk a horse through GAIT’s labyrinth, work with a horse to complete an obstacle course, and enjoy refreshments.
Later in the month, firefighters and first responders from the Milford Fire Department came to GAIT to practice rescuing a horse from a stall using fire halters donated by the Pike County 4-H Club. GAIT Executive Director Martha Dubensky observed, “In the process of using the halters and leading a horse to the safety of the pasture, closing all stalls and gates behind them, the firefighters realized there was more to saving a horse that they thought; it was an important exercise.” Several participants expressed interest in returning for an in-depth introduction to GAIT’s Horses 4 Heroes program.
GAIT hopes these events will raise awareness about Horses 4 Heroes and encourage those who could benefit from the program to give it a try. The feedback from GAIT’s Horses 4 Heroes participants has been overwhelmingly positive: All participants report a noticeable difference in their day-to-day lives as a result of their work at GAIT.
Therapeutic horsemanship has been proven effective for physical and emotional rehabilitation, including PTSD and brain injuries. Riding and working with horses allows participants a temporary escape from the stress and pressure of the outside world and all its noise and clutter.
Those interested in participating Horses 4 Heroes at GAIT should call 570-409-1140 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. GAIT looks forward to hearing from you.
Horses 4 Heroes is Horses is free to participants, but there are costs for GAIT. To support the program, donate online at www,gaittrc.org (be sure to apply your donation to Horses 4 Heroes) or mail a check to GAIT Therapeutic Riding Center, PO Box 69, Milford, PA 18337 (indicating that you would like the donation to go to the Horses 4 Heroes program).