What do Wild Horses and War Veterans have in common? They are both symbols of strength and freedom rounded up and recruited to serve the people of this country with honor and loyalty. They are asked to carry unbearable burdens that change their lives forever. After service, often, they are left with traumatic injuries that deeply damage their minds, bodies and spirits causing anxiety and depression. Many even lose their will to live. Lifesavers knows that rescued wild horses and wounded warriors can heal each other – we have living proof!
The Wild Horse Warriors Journey is a program based on experiential horse activities that are designed to nurture emotional growth and healing from trauma and is offered to first responders, active duty and veterans with PTSD, TBI, MST, Anxiety, Depression and Suicidal Ideation at no cost. The program is funded by donations from individuals, corporations and foundations.
The activities are guided by wild horse professionals. Because of the experiential aspect, changes in behavior and increased insight for the participants often arise quickly and have a lasting transferable effect.
Participants learn about themselves and others by participating in gentling rescued wild horses, and then processing feelings, behaviors, and patterns.
There are many equine therapy programs that are helping veterans through domestic horse activities including, feeding and grooming, riding, and partnership training, however, Wild Horse Warriors has the added advantage of utilizing the process of gentling wild horses making first contact and spiritually connecting with a dynamic and powerful living being.
The focus of our Wild Horse Gentling activity is on building trust and communication with a wild horse and requires the participants to discover and utilize relationship skills. Non-verbal communication, assertiveness, creative thinking, problem-solving, leadership, responsibility, empathy, compassion, teamwork, self-confidence, and setting boundaries are several examples of the tools utilized, developed and practiced.
Wild Horse Gentling is a powerful and effective therapeutic approach that has proven to have an incredible impact on individuals and groups. It addresses a variety of mental health and human development needs including behavioral issues, attention deficit disorder, PTSD, substance abuse, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, relationship problems and communication needs.
The process of gaining the horses’ trust through authentic and congruent word, action and emotion increases insight and behavior change in the participant as well as the horse. The relationship between horse and human, created through our wild horse gentling techniques and after session sharing, encourages healing of physical, emotional and spiritual trauma and inspires building a “new” intimacy with loved ones at home.
The gentling process gives our military personnel an opportunity to be of service which was their goal when they entered the “service“. This process also applies to non-military service personnel such as law enforcement, fire fighters, and emergency/trauma responders. Other areas of healing addressed: enhances employment and interpersonal skills, physical strength, positive parenting and opportunities to participate in other alternative therapies. The gentling process also prepares our rescued horses for a life as a domestic pet and partner ready for an adoptive home.
We offer this Journey program to Veteran Service Organizations and non-military agencies that will bring their own Participants, Staff Members and Therapist(s). Each Journey can accommodate up to eight Participants and 4 Staff/Therapist personnel. The length of the program is 3 full days of horse activities. The ranch location is Lifesavers’ Wild Horse Canyon in the community of Twin Oaks (Caliente) California, in Kern County. Lodging and 3 meals per day included.
Wild Horse Warriors Journey program raises awareness and inspires compassion. Horses heal the hearts and spirits of everyone they touch.
Two wild horse gentling instructors will be on staff as well as a chef serving delicious healthy meals 3 times per day in a family meal atmosphere inside the Wild Horse Canyon Lodge. Cozy and quaint cabins are available as single and group units.
Warriors will arrive on Thursday, before dark (4pm-6pm) for check-in and cabin assignments. A pot of soup or stew will be waiting. Participants will take it easy this first evening and get to know their fellow Warriors and staff.
A good night’s rest is essential since the program begins first thing in the morning. Each day will be full of wondrous learning about wild horses, herd behavior and how amazingly similar humans and horses really are. Participants will get into a round corral with a wild horse and it will win the heart of that horse – and vice versa.
At the end of each day there will be an after dinner share where our guests will sit together and talk about experiences, epiphanies and revelations, and there will definitely be some. It is the VSO/Agency’s responsibility to provide their own therapist or counselor to provide processing and clinical evaluations. After 3 full days of wild horse gentling and other activities, we will end the program with a Labyrinth ceremony. The Journey group will walk through the Labyrinth of Love and leave behind a little something personal in that circle of reflection, hope and empowerment.
If your Veteran Service Organization or Community Service Agency is interested in bringing your group of Warriors to a Journey for healing by wild horses, please contact our office for more information 661-727-0049 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Location of Wild Horse Warriors Journey program: