Horses Helping Heroes
Listening to your horse and what they are communicating reminds me to take a step back and do that in real life relationships and communication.
Established in September of 2016, Horses Helping Heroes (H3) is an Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) program for military veterans. We provide both inpatient services to participants in the Des Moines VA Mental Health Residential Rehabilitation and Treatment program, as well as outpatient services.
Interactive lessons with horses emphasize themes such as relationship building, effective communication skills, problem-solving, and recognizing peace while providing a therapeutic environment. Not only do those who participate in H3 gain life skills and confidence, but the VA Hospital has also noticed a decrease in medications needed for depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
We are excited to announce that we are now able to offer our outpatient equine-assisted psychotherapy program to all military veterans residing in the Des Moines area. Skills you may learn from equine-assisted therapy include emotional regulation, self-confidence, improved communication and relationship skills, mindfulness, and many others. This is not a riding program; we use ground-based horsemanship activities.
Horses Helping Heroes is led by Sierra Carmichael (our Equine Mental Health Specialist) along with a Recreational Therapist from the VA Central Iowa Health Care System.
There is no cost for veterans to participate in H3. Participants are required to commit to attending all five weeks of the session.
Session 4: Fridays 1:00pm-3:00pm. February 12, 19, & 26, March 5 & 12 (Program starts at 12pm on the last day to allow for a provided meal)
Session 6: Fridays 1:00pm-3:00pm. April 2, 9, 16, & 30, May 7 (Program starts at 12pm on the last day to allow for a provided meal)
Session 7: Mondays 5:30pm-7:30pm. May 3, 10, 17, & 24, June 7 (Program starts at 4:30pm on the last day to allow for a provided meal)
Session 8: Wednesdays 5:30pm-7:30pm. June 2, 9, 16, 23, & 30 (Program starts at 4:30pm on the last day to allow for a provided meal)
Session 11: Wednesdays 5:30pm-7:30pm. July 28, August 4, 11, 18, & 25 (Program starts at 4:30pm on the last day to allow for a provided meal)
Session 12: Wednesdays 5:30pm-7:30pm. September 15, 22, & 29, October 6 & 13 (Program starts at 4:30pm on the last day to allow for a provided meal)
Military veterans who are interested in participating in H3 should contact us at JPEC_info@polkcountyiowa.gov or by phone at 515-999-2818.
- As of December 2020, H3 has served over 300 veterans.
- The cost to send a single veteran through the 4-week inpatient program is $150.00.
- H3 serves up to 10 veterans per outpatient and inpatient program.
Additional opportunities for veterans, and their families, to get involved in EAP are in high demand. With your financial support, we hope to continue the development of
Horses Helping Heroes.
- Monthly funding requirements for an additional session of programming for outpatient
veterans is $1,500/month.
- To match our established H3 schedule of 10 sessions annually, the annual funding for a 2nd
program is $15,000/year.
- Provide weekend outings or retreat-style programs that are targeted towards veterans,
veteran families, and care providers.
Working with horses in equine therapy was a positive experience for me. It felt good to have the ability to gain confidence & skill to convince another natural animal to trust me & follow my direction. Communication and body language is key.