Veterans Build Resilience Through Equine-Assisted Therapy

About 20 veterans a day die from suicide, according to a Veterans Affairs Department analysis released in 2016. Multiple programs have begun to provide the nation’s veterans with the help they need.

One such program is based at the Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center here. The center provides services to veterans through the TRICARE insurance program, and it also helps veterans’ families.

“We serve veterans, [and] we serve children with various diagnoses or needs,” said Sarah Price, a mental health counselor for equine-assisted psychotherapy. “Some diagnoses include anxiety disorder. Some adults might have bipolar disorders or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. It really just depends. There are lots of different needs and symptoms that EAP can address and be beneficial for.”

The riding center offers a certified Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International program to assist its clients.

“I have post-traumatic stress disorder] and I have bipolar disorder, said Carolyn Burke, a Navy veteran. “For me, they’ve helped me through all of those, each one individually. And the social anxiety — just dealing with people in general — you can learn to do that here.”

Understanding the Struggle

Experienced veteran staff members understand what their military and prior-military clients are going through.

“I was active duty Navy for six…

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