LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Equine therapy is being used all around the country and Refuge Services here in Lubbock took it another step further with their equine therapy veteran program. The non-profit has opened its doors, services, and horses at no charge to veterans who are suffering with anxiety, depression, or PTSD.
Officials with the program say it works. “We have the horses as cofacilitators in that they can help the veterans work through that trauma to where they can go on and live more unaffected lives,” said Randy Willmon.
Here at refuge services, Willmon is the veteran coordinator. Before this, Willmon says he never thought horses could be therapeutic for veterans who are suffering with depression, anxiety, and PTSD, but after working with the veterans and the horses, he says the proof is in the results. “We put our veterans through this program and it starts with therapeutic riding and the touch and the rhythm kind of gets you brain into a rhythm and it calms you down."
The employees who work in this program understand what these vets are going through since most of them are veterans themselves. “We know how it feels and some days are rougher than others, but to be able to find a place where people understand you and where you come from, that’s probably been one of the greatest things to see,” said Abel Hernandez, volunteer at Refuge Services and veteran.
“Its very gratifying to see the vets that benefit from this kind of therapy and it’s a very good feeling getting to help out with that, too," said Tanner Kelley, fundraiser for Refuge Services and veteran.
Those who help these veterans say seeing results is probably the best part. “The fact that I get to see them leave or come in and say I slept through the night or I didn’t have any bad dreams. that’s what I live for and to know that I was some small part of that is perfect," Willmon said.
For more information on this program, click here.