Horseback riding helping local veterans heal

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by BREANNA ROY & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on November 8, 2013 at 7:17 AM

Updated Friday, Nov 8 at 9:12 AM

SPOKANE, Wash. – Free Rein, a therapeutic horseback riding facility in Spokane, is now taking veterans through the Wounded Warrior Project.
 
Sandy Jones founded Free Rein in 2008 as a place that people with physical, mental or emotional challenges could experience the therapeutic benefits of horseback riding.
 
Just this year, with funding from the Wounded Warrior Project, Free Rein started a class exclusively for active and former military members who served after Sept. 11, 2001.
 
So far, four veterans have voluntarily taken on the horsemanship classes, which teach them communication and trust skills while they learn how to handle, groom, tack and eventually ride the horses. Jones said military members and horses are a natural team.
 
“When we founded our program we knew it was something that we would want to do, having the air force base right in our area having the veterans’ hospital, we knew that there would be a population here,” Jones said. “And the more that we saw how it was working in other programs or other parts of the country, the more we wanted to do it.”
 
The program currently lasts eight weeks, but Jones says as more veterans take it, it will grow with additional training options. She said it will be up to the military riders themselves with how it will expand, whether it’s more off-site trail rides or training in the arena.
 
There is currently no waiting list for Free Rein’s next set of military-only classes, which begin in February.
 
For more information, contact Free Rein.

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