On the first day of the Veterans Program at Lovesome Stables, the veterans are gathered in the middle of the arena. They sit in chairs and listen as the facilitator goes over proper horse grooming and safety. Meanwhile, the horses are loose and moving around in the arena. The veterans are then invited to visit with each horse and find one that they feel that they can work with for the session. Sometimes the veterans choose the horses, sometimes the horses choose them.
One session, a rescue horse named Hickory, usually a more stand-offish horse, came right up to a man and rested his head on his shoulder. The man went around and met other horses, but felt a connection and was drawn back to Hickory.
Later that day, as the session continued, the man shared that his teenage daughter had committed suicide a month before. His daughter had been involved with show horses, and when Hickory came and put his head on this man’s shoulder, he felt a connection to his daughter.
“Hickory had sensed his need and made sure he knew that he was not alone,” says Jody Keeley, founder of Lovesome Stables, “the bond between Hickory and the man grew over the session and was amazing.” The Veterans Program provides a way to help veterans heal by learning to communicate with horses. They work on a variety of exercises each week in the six-week program. Many graduates of the program love it so much, they return to help as volunteers!
One veteran said that the lessons he learned from the horses during the program were life-changing – “I’m 52 years old and learned more there about myself than any time in my life. The application of those things I now use and was able to change my whole way of thinking.”
The Veterans Program is just one of the many amazing programs at Lovesome Stables. They also offer therapeutic riding for people with disabilities, community-based instruction for local school districts, and a women’s group program. The horses that work in these programs come from a variety of backgrounds – some are rescues, others are trail horses, and some are retired show horses.
Lovesome Stables is also involved in the Special Olympics. A few years ago, they took 13 riders to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. Alongside six horses, the riders all brought home medals and had a great time. One of the missions of Lovesome Stables is to provide an environment where people with disabilities can reach their highest potential. The Special Olympics is an opportunity for them to achieve and showcase their improvements and skills.
How to Contact This Farm:
250 Boltz Lake Road
Dry Ridge, KY 41035