Friday, October 17, 2014 - 11:31am

Helpful Horses: Ranch provides PTSD Therapy to Borderland Veterans


POSTED: Sunday, February 23, 2014 - 6:35pm

UPDATED: Sunday, February 23, 2014 - 9:13pm

An El Paso veteran support group is getting Post Traumatic Stress Disorder therapy through the help of a horse ranch.
Medical experts say it's hard for a person who suffers from PTSD to trust other people. That's why working with these horses is important. The Hope and Healing Horse Therapy Ranch offers a 12-step program which helps veterans move through their trauma, into more manageable lives.

Handling a horse takes confidence, patience, and trust. "If you want them to do what you need them to do, then you have to be calm and you have to have some patience,” Melinda Russell, Owner and Operator of The Hope and Healing Horse Therapy Ranch told us.

Traits Army veterans coping with PTSD are constantly working on regaining. "It impacts so much facets of your life,” Edward Rogers, an Army Veteran explained. Rogers, a former soldier, who explained that PTSD greatly impacted his life, "I was at home and I was fighting with my wife, my sons, you know. And I don't know why I was doing it."

Rogers said some of his trauma stems from a mission in Iraq, when he was tasked to move the bodies of his fellow soldiers. "It was pretty traumatic, pretty traumatic. Because, you know, we're used to carrying food and other perishables, you know, not bodies."

The Military Veteran Peer Network has been helping veterans like Rogers deal with PTSD Through programs such as the Hope and Healing Horse Therapy Ranch in Far East El Paso. Retired Army Chaplain Russell said working with horses has also helped her with her own PTSD, "Somebody with trust issues, they're working with somebody, something that is so big but something that's gentle and it helps them to develop some trust,” Russell said.

The lessons learned on the ranch doesn't end when desert sand meets pavement, working with the animals provides a foundation so that veterans like Rogers. "Those kinds of things that you work with, with the horses then translates into the home life,” Rogers told us.

"I was able to train a horse, you know walk a horse around, I've never done that before… but it was just, it was just fun." A ‘fun’ learning process that aims to help veterans move past PTSD and into a new chapter of their lives.

The Military Veteran Peer Network is run by Emergence Health Network who has been providing support for years. To contact MVPN – emergencehealthnetwork.org or (915) 887-3410
To contact Hope and Healing Ranch -- http://hopeandhealingranch.weebly.com/ or 915-208-0538

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