Horses Act as a Mirror to Process What's Happening Inside
Our active-duty military and veterans have often experienced or witnessed trauma that has negatively impacted their lives and is difficult to talk about and process. Available resources, such as traditional talk therapy, do not appeal to many in the military community. However, horses and a supportive community can play key roles in their restorative journey. With their non-judgmental nature, horses act as a mirror for veterans to process their emotions in a way that brings inner healing, peace and confidence.
At SoléAna Stables, we offer a no-cost equine experience for active-duty military and veterans through our Horses for Heroes program.
Horses possess an extraordinary capacity for unconditional acceptance, offering genuine feedback without criticism. This trait makes them a safe space where our Heroes can explore their emotions and experiences without fear of judgment. This partnership fosters an atmosphere of trust, enabling Heroes to delve deep into their personal lives, relationships and past challenges that have been holding them back from living their best lives.
What are the Benefits of Equine-Assisted Services for Our Military Community?
Research shows that equine-assisted activities provide a unique opportunity for active-duty military and veterans to improve their holistic health & wellness and gain a sense of purpose through meaningful activity. Heroes focus on building skills that result in the following:
Reduced PTSD Symptoms
By fostering a therapeutic connection between veterans and horses, promoting emotional healing and resilience.
By enhancing communication, trust, and empathy through interactions with horses, ultimately improving their personal relationships.
Reduced Depression & Anxiety
By providing a calming and supportive environment that fosters emotional healing, reduces stress, and promotes a sense of well-being.
Positive Coping Skills
By engaging in activities that require patience, problem-solving, and emotional regulation, thereby promoting resilience and adaptive strategies for managing life's challenges.
Improved Balance & Strength
By engaging in activities that require physical coordination and stability while developing their core strength. This is especially helpful for veterans who may have suffered physical injuries.
Improved Motor Functioning
By grooming, walking with, and caring for horses, which can improve balance, coordination, and overall physical abilities. This is especially helpful for veterans who may have suffered physical injuries.
Increased Social Connectedness
By fostering communication, teamwork, and the development of interpersonal skills, which helps alleviate the social isolation many in the military community feel.
Improved Quality of Life
By addressing physical and mental health challenges, promoting camaraderie, and fostering a sense of purpose and connection among active-duty military and veterans.
SoléAna Stables Horses for Heroes Unmounted Program
At SoléAna Stables, we recognize the distinctive needs of our military Heroes who have devoted their lives to the service of others, which is why our program is tailored to meet the need of inner reflection and community support. Our dedicated and experienced instructors and Founders include former military and military spouses, who can empathize with Heroes in the program. Through years of receiving equine education, holding leadership positions, and working with horses, our instructors understand the best way horses can transform the lives of our Heroes. During the first half of our time together, our professional Staff and skilled Volunteers guide Heroes through unmounted equine-assisted learning activities. During the second half of our time, we gather together to eat, laugh, and just sit against the backdrop of the peaceful outdoors. This intentional time is created to build community and strengthen support for our military community.
First 1.5 hours is for equine lessons. Last 30 minutes is for community building and fellowship
Taught in a group setting with no more than 8 Participants per lesson
Participants will learn the essentials of equine handling and groundwork combined with basic horse care, basic understanding of equine psychology, and fun exercises between the horse and handler. The focus of the program is the connection between the horse and handler.
Guidelines for Participation
Be either active-duty military or a veteran
Proof of service
For mounted activities, must wear a helmet
Here’s How You Can Join:
You don’t have to do life alone. Here’s how we can walk with you on your journey!
Fill out the online application, tell us who you are and how we can best help you. We are excited to get to know you!
Become a Participant
Attend your first lesson and meet our herd! Start engaging with your equine partner and cohort.
Together, we will celebrate progress, share victories, and build meaningful relationships.
Not right now, but we are hoping to in the future!
Each lesson is unique and builds on the previous lesson. However during each lesson you can expect to be in the arena for 1 to 1.5 hours followed by 30-45 minutes of fellowship where you enjoy refreshments, light snacks and time to talk about the lesson.
Before feeding our horses any snacks, please ask a Staff member. We take great care in what our horses eat and want to make sure they only get what our equine manager has ok’d.
We do not allow family members to attend H4H lessons due to privacy. Not everyone wants to share their story with others or have people watch. We do plan family days throughout the year where we invite the entire family out to the barn.
Yes! You are more than welcome to volunteer in any of our programs after receiving the required training. Please check out our volunteer opportunities here.
We can certainly accommodate same sex groups. Get in touch with us and let us know your preference.
Each lesson has no more than 8 Participants.
At this time, we do not offer mounted lessons, but we plan to in the future! Once we have finalized the Mounted lesson plans and have the needed horses, we will offer Mounted lessons to all Heroes who have previously participated in Unmounted lessons.
Yes (or at least we will)! Contact us for more info.
SoléAna Stables is a proud Member Center of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH International).
PATH International is the credentialing organization for accrediting centers and certifying instructors and equine specialists. SoléAna Stables abides by their strict safety guidelines while adding additional standards to further ensure quality of life for horses and riders alike.