What Our Graduates Say
"My experience surrounds me every day. Words cannot express the change in me with how I love more and accept myself as I am.
Now, I feel forgiven for my part in combat."
I gained confidence. I believed in myself and better understood what it looks like to push people away. If you can push people away, you remain safe.
Trust and vulnerability are truly beautiful when given the space to flourish."
The Saratoga WarHorse program is a positive experience for any separated service member who has ever felt their usefulness has expired or has experienced emotional trauma. The horses that are involved in the program can relate. Their passion for racing is cut short by injury or age. The mutual feelings between you and the horse are real. Once the connection is made, it is a truly memorable moment that is not soon forgotten. It is an opportunity for emotions to be released and an opportunity for me to understand some of the troubles I have been experiencing.
Personally, I had never handled a horse before. It was a challenge that I was excited to take on. I wanted to prove to myself that I was capable of trust and worth being trusted. My horse companion for the day, Done Done Done, was an athlete in his racing days. He and I were able to find common ground and mutual understanding. We both agreed that what we each needed during our time in the ring was each other."
You saved my life. I am now full of peace and a calmness that I would never have thought possible after the pure hell of PTSD that I used to live with.
I am still haunted by the limitations of that mental illness, but I am overwhelmed instead by a balm on my soul that I cannot explain, except that it came after I attended one of your clinics.
You saved my life. I owe you everything. Thank you from the very depths of my soul. "
I believe you saved my life.
Without getting too detailed about my struggles I suffer from extreme guilt and I can't forgive myself or believe that anyone (even God) could forgive me for the evil I have done. I feel everyone judging me and condemning me for what I have done. The pain and depression was so overwhelming I had the gun to my head. I have been "Red Flagged" by the VA suicide prevention team for months. I have lost all my courage and all my relationships have been sabotaged. I was without hope and I hated myself. Then I was challenged with the opportunity to come to WarHorse.
My first challenge was getting to the airport and getting on that flight. If I could just make the trip, talk to some people, and make it back home would be a huge victory. I didn't expect all the other victories that took place. I found another vet that was struggling like me and I was able to put myself aside and help someone else. I made a connection with another person and felt my life validated.
The time I spent in the round-pin with my horse was fun ("fun" is a word that I have not used in years). I lost myself in those few moments and it was just me and the horse working together. But it was after we were done that the biggest success happened. I looked that horse in the eye and he looked back at me and I saw nothing but acceptance and gratitude. For the first time I felt forgiveness.