Indiana equestrian center using horses to provide therapy to veterans

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Since 2010 Summit Equestrian Center has helped people with physical, emotional and mental disabilities adapt with the help of horses. Now, they want to include veterans.

Therapy means a lot of things to a lot of people. What works for someone may not work for someone else. For some people the therapy that works is horses.

“It’s a non judgmental environment,” Summit Equestrian Center Director Allison Wheaton said.

Vietnam Veteran Earl McClendon loves it.

“It’s a way to calm you down,” McClendon said. “I suffer myself from bipolar. I’ll get in manic stages and this keeps me calm.”

Summit is starting a pilot program to provide horse therapy to veterans. Veterans with physical disabilities from war can benefit.

“When you’re riding on a horse you use a lot of same muscles you use when you walk,” Wheaton said. “It’s that core strength and you’re moving front to back and side to side and up and down all at the same time.”

It’s also for the veterans bringing back not so noticeable disorders like post traumatic stress disorder.

“[You get to] interact with horses and help them through things because it’s such an experience you get that instant feedback,” Wheaton said.

“I love horses and I love to ride,” McClendon said.

The program will start in the next few weeks, before the cold weather comes in. It’s free of charge. To find out more visit the center’s website here.

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