LIHU‘E — The Healing Horses Kaua’i Heroes Program and Teen Leadership currently are seeking military veterans for their Heroes Program.
The program for veterans will be available every Sunday during March and April from 1, 2, and 3 p.m. assisting the teen leadership program.
There will be no additional cost to the veterans, and this will be followed by the Teen Leadership Program from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. every Sunday during March and April for teens ages 14 to 18-years-old. The teens will arrive one hour and leave one hour after the veterans.
Veterans will not be charged to participate in the Healing Horses’ program, and there will be a $400 stipend for each teenager who is a participant in their program.
Healing Horses received grant funding for 15 full scholarships for veteran program participants.
The heroes will participate in a series of horsemanship, groundwork and riding skills, and learn emotional regulation and coping skills through learning how to ride on a horse.
The idea behind the activity of horseback riding for both veterans and teens, is that participants will build muscle tone, postural control and increased balance that many veterans may have lost through experiencing post-traumatic stress syndrome and other emotional trauma, according to Healing Horses Director Samantha Henriques.
“Horsemanship exercises engage the brain and body so that the spontaneous physiological responses associated with trauma diminish,” Henriques said.
The participants will learn grooming, tacking, leading, natural horsemanship principles, mounting, riding and understanding how to work with the horse.
“In the HHKH program, the veteran focus is on perceiving and communicating with equines in the present moment,” Healing Horses Director Henriques said.