Mark Olsen returned from deployment in Iraq several years ago after serving in the US Navy and faithfully fighting for his country. After he arrived back home, he found the adjustment very difficult. He says, “I was unable to engage in activities or enjoy them.” He stayed at home, only leaving to go to doctors’ appointments and to get groceries once a month. He struggled to connect with friends and family like he did before.
Little over a year ago, Mark heart about Horses Spirits Healing from a doctor at his veteran’s clinic in Billings. He decided to give it a try. After just a few riding lessons, Mark started to look forward to seeing the horses every week and going to the barn.
Mark shares, “I have started to enjoy life again. Without this program I would not be able to continue re-engaging and enjoying the activities I had enjoyed in the past. I cannot find the words to express my gratitude for what this program has given back to me and how helpful it has been.”
Hundreds of veterans just like Mark have been able to find healing and help through Horses Spirits Healing. HSHI offers all veterans the opportunity to connect with horses to heal wounds – both seen and unseen.
Montana has the second highest number of veterans per capita in the nation, with 100,000 veterans living there. Yellowstone County alone is home to 22,000 veterans. “Too often, veterans struggle through the pain, hopeless and frustrated,” says Amanda Ott, program director at HSHI. The goal at HSHI is to help veterans heal through interacting with horses.
Therapeutic Riding is offered at HSHI, as well as Equine Assisted Learning. These sessions offer a solution-oriented approach, allowing participating veterans to seek their own path to healing. Amanda says, “some veterans may find it calming to simply groom a horse, while others may enjoy the horse’s gentle gait or rehabilitate through physical activities like moving hay bales.”
In whatever way they choose to participate, they benefit dramatically from the bond they develop with the horses, the trust and confidence that they gain, and the hope and healing that comes. Chris Rubich said, “Ask anyone who has spent time on a horse — the connection is intimate. And, undeniable. Horse. Human. Bond. The ability to heal follows.”
Help provide this type of healing connection for the veterans at HSHI by donating or learning more on their website below.
How to Contact This Farm:
7256 Hwy 3
Billings, MT 59106