Animals have a natural ability and knack to soothe and calm those around them without effort. Many types of animals can provide comfort and healing to those in distress, and recent studies show that horses are very special in that ability. The Healing of Our Veterans Equine Service or H.O.O.V.E.S. is a program designed to help veterans with PTSD or other concerns.

How H.O.O.V.E.S. helps veterans with PTSD and other disorders

Elise is an American Saddlebred Quarter horse who saves lives of U. S. military veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression and other conditions as a result of military service.

Many other horses like Elise possess a special gift to help people suffering emotional and self-worth issues. Elise was a rescue herself after she tore a ligament while jumping a fence. She escaped being put down herself and now serves to help those vets with low self-esteem. She is just one of 11 other horses hand-picked as part of the H.O.O.V.E.S. program to work with the vets, either one-on-one or in group sessions each month.

About the horses and their placement with the vets

Each horse with the H.O.O.V.E.S. program has their own personality and demeanor, necessitating the need to pair the right animal with the right person. Shelby is a 12-year-old Mustang lacking in a calm demeanor while 14-year-old Clydesdales Killian would be a lap animal if she could.

To work through light and darkness in a veterans’ life, massive Percheron draft horses Tulip and Molly fit the bill.

A spokesperson for H.O.O.V.E.S., Ms. Thompson said that the horses at the program are herd animals with the unique ability to read the body language of the veterans in need and mirror them. Each animal has different personalities to help the veterans with various issues.

These are not just horses but part of the staff doing some great work. Thompson herself is a retired vet of the Air National Guard who suffers from PTSD, depression and other issues. It was then that she formed the Riverbend Equine Therapy and H.O.O.V.E.S. along with her dad Ron Coale. After working with and training horses most of her life, she knew the therapeutic effects a horse can provide the wounded veteran.