Army Sergeant First Class Steve Houghton survived nine attacks from explosive devices during his military deployments.
After 20 years of dedicated service to our country - 11 of which were spent deployed in Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait - Steve’s military career ended.
The transition from combat to civilian life was a painful one for Steve.
Steve’s service in the Army left him with physical and psychological wounds that seemed insurmountable. As a result, Steve became homeless. He felt shut out from the world and everything around him. He attended treatment and support groups in hope of obtaining relief, but nothing seemed to work. Finally, someone suggested that he attend the Saratoga WarHorse program.
"I felt connected again."
During the three-day, equine-assisted Saratoga WarHorse class, Steve and four other Veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress participated in our one-of-a-kind Connection Process with rescued off-the-track Thoroughbreds.
"I finally felt connected again," Steve said. "I overcame my Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and was able to pull myself out of homelessness."
Steve didn’t realize that by attending the Saratoga WarHorse program in March 2017, he would change another life in addition to his own.
Bodie, a Thoroughbred racehorse, faced similar challenges to Steve during his racing career. Misunderstood and mistreated, Bodie found himself physically and mentally defeated, and unsure of what was in his future. A kind woman nursed him back to health so that he could help Veterans who were experiencing the same pain in the Saratoga WarHorse program. Bodie found his calling!
Recalled to Life
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In 2018, Steve adopted Bodie. Bonded by their experiences--both good and bad--Steve and Bodie have found healthiness, happiness, and purpose together.
Since being adopted by Steve, Bodie’s second career is now a pleasure trail riding horse. He spends his days on a small farm in South Carolina with four other horses, a donkey, and two Veteran Graduates of the Saratoga WarHorse program: Steve and Abby. Steve says “Boss Daddy” Bodie’s favorite snacks are “all the snacks” and all the animals on the farm are very sweet and loving!
Steve currently works as a Veteran Program Facilitator for Saratoga WarHorse. In this role, he guides Veteran participants coming through the program, ensuring both their safety and confidence in the program. He's working on his bachelor's degree and says his life is back on track.