Letter to the Editor: the Man O' War Project

My sincere thanks to Ms. Sue Finley for the compelling article about the Man O' War Project  in the TDN Thursday. I whole heartedly appreciate Earle Mack's support of our veterans. I have only mentioned my own personal story about PTSD to a few people. Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 my father left Columbia University and enlisted in the Air Force. He was 17, turning 18. He went to Officers Training School and was promptly shipped to the South Pacific to work in the intelligence corps....

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This Memorial Day, It Feels a Little Bit Like War

They'll run the Belmont Stakes next Saturday, and as we lead up to the event, there will be more conversation about all of the unpleasant things we've been talking about lately: syringes in barns, drugs and bans, guilt or innocence, crime and punishment. We'll be asked to justify our existence, the necessity of our sport and our livelihood. What purpose do we really serve, anyway, they'll ask? Like everyone else in the sport, I think we serve a purpose. But I also think we have the potential to serve a...

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Man O' War Study Finds Equine Therapy Helpful for PTSD

by T.D. Thornton and Sue Finley Although using equine-assisted therapies (EAT) to help people overcome post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been long believed to be effective via anecdotal results, a recent exploratory scientific study declares that it "is the first to demonstrate that EAT can affect functional and structural changes in the brains of patients with PTSD." The findings are groundbreaking not only from a scientific standpoint, but also from the perspective that the peer-reviewed work by Columbia University Irving Medical Center and New York State Psychiatric Institute researchers published...

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Cheering for Hope from Houston

Nearly a thousand miles from Keeneland Race Course, a watch party in Houston, Texas is sure to be cheering just as emphatically as if they were in the grandstand. Residents of Camp Hope, a facility that provides support and mentoring to combat veterans suffering from the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress, will tune in on Friday to watch a juvenile colt named after the residential program. If Camp Hope (Summer Front) ends up in the winner's circle for the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile, his earnings will go back to the facility...

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At Outside In, OTTBS Bring Needed Comfort

Jennifer McVoy is a Licensed Master Social Worker and the founder of Out Side In, located in Grand Haven, MI, who grew up riding and showing Arabians. Her first educational degree was in business and she began her work life in the corporate world, but, early on, she decided that it wasn't for her and went back to school to earn her Master's Degree in Social Work. For 15 years, she practiced traditional therapy in a public-school setting and was always aware that horses could make a difference for people...

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Thoroughbreds Give Combat Veterans a New Lease on Life at Down The Stretch Ranch

Boone McCanna was one of the leading jockey agents in Northern California, and prior to that in Washington, having represented Kevin Krigger, Dennis Carr, and Frank Alvarado among others. A third-generation horseman, McCanna had a vision to combine the tranquility of the his family's horse ranch outside Spokane, where his father would rest his racehorses in the off-season, with off-track Thoroughbreds and veterans in need of relief from the effects of PTSD suffered while serving in combat. In 2014, with the help of Jerry and Janet Hollendorfer, Down The Stretch...

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Eagala Shines Light on Therapeutic Impact of Horses

Eagala, a global organization of mental health professionals dedicated to incorporating horses into psychotherapy treatment, celebrated their 20th anniversary with a four-day event hosted at the Lexington Convention Center in Lexington, Kentucky this past weekend. The group is dedicated to furthering equine-assisted psychotherapy and personal development techniques, focusing specifically on veterans and servicemen suffering from PTSD, as well as suicide prevention, substance abuse recovery and rural mental health issues. On Saturday, Feb. 29, Eagala hosted a live demonstration and panel discussion in partnership with the American Horse Council and the...

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Q&A with Kelsey Kober, TRF Wallkill's New Manager

The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF) farm at the Wallkill Correctional Facility recently celebrated its 35th anniversary. The perennial partnership sealed in 1983 paved the way for off-track Thoroughbreds as therapeutic learning partners for all people but most notably for men and women who have suffered PTSD, have substance abuse issues, anger management problems and many other issues that might land a person in prison. Pasture sound-only Thoroughbreds find sanctuary and a critically important career in the TRF's renowned program. Older horses are respected and revered for their lives and contributions...

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