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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : features : features September 14, 2014

1/5/2014 6:01:00 AM
'Heroes and Horses' helps vets with PTSD

West Yavapai Guidance Clinic

More local veterans now have the opportunity to experience the power of horses in healing. Horses with Heart, a nonprofit organization based in Chino Valley, already has a program known as "Heroes and Horses." This is made possible through a collaboration with the local Veterans Administration and focuses on distinct categories of service members. This program has recently expanded and welcomes veterans with battle injuries, both visible and invisible. The next class starts in March.

One of the less obvious illnesses that veterans may have is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to the National Institute of Mental Health, a person can get PTSD after living through or seeing a traumatic event, such as war, a hurricane, sexual assault, physical abuse, or a bad accident. PTSD makes one feel stressed and afraid after the danger is over.

PTSD can cause problems like:

• Flashbacks, or feeling like the event is happening again

• Trouble sleeping or nightmares

• Feeling alone

• Angry outbursts

• Feeling worried, guilty, or sad.

PTSD starts at different times for different people. Signs of PTSD may start soon after a frightening event and then continue. Other people develop new or more severe signs months or even years later.

Treatment may include talk therapy, medicines or both. Treatment might take six to 12 weeks. For some, it takes longer.

What if one of those therapeutic interventions included horses? The Horses with Heart program for veterans (Heroes and Horses) consists of six 1-1/2 hour therapeutic horsemanship classes based on those sponsored through PATH International by the Wounded Warrior Program.

Want to know more? Space is limited, and cost will not be a barrier for a qualified veteran. This expanded program was made possible through a grant from the Yavapai County Community Foundation. Call 533-9178 or email aalen.hwh@gmail.com to learn more.

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