CONROE, Texas (KTRK) -- It's a unique program that builds friendships between veterans and first responders with horses. It's helping them cope with issues like PTSD.
Henry's Home is a horse and human sanctuary that welcomes visitors and volunteers through their Horses & Heroes Equine Therapy Program.
"We take in rescued horses and surrendered horses and give them a forever home. We've got about 20 horses here," Executive Director Donna Stedman said.
Stedman said the program is the only one of its kind, which is recognized by the Disabled Veterans National Foundation. The vets and first responders have to learn how to communicate how their energy comes across and learn control, all by the way of the horse.
Daniel Aranda served in the Army for five years and the Army Reserves after that.
"Post-traumatic stress is a difficult to explain. I'm antisocial. I don't meet in big groups. You need a place to go. There's no place I could go, until I found this place," Aranda said.
Another visiting veteran, Robert Taylor, served in the Army for 13 years.
"I suffer from anxiety. And being out here with the horses, just being able to pet them and have them love up on me, it's very relaxing and I'm free out here. I have no stress when I'm out here," Taylor said.
Humans aside, every horse that comes here has a story as well.
"Some of them come from really terrible rescue situations and some of them come from just a 20 years of being sports horses, for instance, thoroughbreds" Stedman said.
It's a retirement life of freedom, bonded thorough unconditional love.
"Veterans especially that have PTSD, have a tendency to isolate themselves. And when we say to them we need you out here, we need you to come help us exercise these horses, we need you to come help work on this ranch, it gets them out of that isolation," Stedman said
Veterans and first responders are invited to bring their families as well. Everything from riding lessons, training, and horsemanship care are provided for them at no cost ever.
You can learn more about Henry's Home by visiting their website.
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