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, Jester Park Equestrian Center (JPEC) partnered directly with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.) with the initiative to implement equine-assisted psychotherapy programs that support our veterans. From this initiative, Horses Helping Heroes (H3) was developed.
Horses Helping Heroes is an Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) veterans program. Participants are patients receiving support from the Des Moines VA and have been recommended by specialists to participate. Each session includes 4-weeks of EAP to gain daily life skills and confidence.
Interactive lessons with horses emphasize themes such as relationship building, effective communication skills, problem-solving, and recognizing peace while providing a therapeutic environment. We utilize our horses and expertise as a means of facilitating the V.A. Equine Therapy Program as a part of their Mental Health Residential Rehabilitation and Treatment Programs.
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.
- As of April 2020, H3 has directly served 300+ veterans.
- The cost to send a single veteran through the 4-week Program is $150.00.
- H3 serves up to 10 veterans per outpatient and in-patient programs. This capacity is
established due to the V.A.’s policy of 10 veterans to every one recreational therapist.
Additional opportunities for veterans, and their families, to get involved in equine-assisted
psychotherapies are in high demand. With your financial support, 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.