In October 2018, Running W Therapeutic Riding Center launched a program to help veterans working through the aftereffects of their time serving our country. This program is offered to wounded service personnel, active-duty members, and victims of sexual assault in the military.
Three Main Goals of WildFreedom:
1) Equip veterans with sustainable tools for healing.
2) Help veterans leave with a greater sense of self-worth, stemming from making peace with their pasts.
3) Provide veterans with a positive outlook on their futures and hope for the life that is ahead of them.
We have partnered with the Vet Center in Spokane to offer this program to veterans already receiving counseling services. Running W Ranch currently provides this at no charge, as we consider this a small way to give back to those who have given so much. Because we do not charge for this program, it runs entirely on the generosity of donors like you. Thank you to those who give! You are helping veterans along their path to healing.
There are three phases, with each phase being a four week session. We meet every Friday for three hours. The course is designed to introduce the principles of natural horsemanship as a way to help veterans gain the trust, respect, and willingness needed to reenter the civilian world. Horses are phenomenal partners that provide honest and immediate feedback. They help us understand how we are being perceived, which provides opportunity for internal reflection and growth.
Phase One is learning grooming and groundwork, focusing on connection with the horse. Phase Two is grooming, groundwork, learning about tack and advancing towards riding - partnership. Phase Three is grooming, groundwork and learning to ride - trust.
Equine facilitated learning is very beneficial in helping to assist in physical and emotional healing. Horses are highly reactive and mimic human emotions requiring calm and non-reactive communications, which promotes emotional awareness, emotion regulation, self-control, and impulse modulation. Working with horses in a therapeutic setting offers instant and constant feedback to participants, requires physical strength and balance, and is highly motivational – combining to make an exceptionally effective rehabilitation environment.
With our experienced instructors and supportive horses, the self-control, self-esteem, self-confidence, and independence of the participants grow. We strive to improve, emotionally empower and socially enhance the lives of veterans and active duty members giving us an opportunity to serve those who have served us.