"Horses are quite spiritual animals. When you groom a horse and feel its heart beat, hear it breathe and see its flesh twitch when a fly lands on it, you're connecting with something greater. These creatures help our veterans to get back in touch with a living being, which helps them to connect better with their spouses, friends and all of society."
~ Nancy De Santis, Cowboy Up! Director
Quoted from American Profile article by Marta w. Aldrich
We provide a unique environment and opportunity in which post 9/11 and active military can Reconnect, Re-create and Reintegrate, essentially giving them a New Mission.
Cowboy Up! consists of performance objectives centered on a natural horsemanship school of thought where horse and handler bond through communication, trust and understanding of the horses' natural instincts. Participants also learn techniques of handling livestock while horseback and afoot.
"We train to Standard, not to time. Our program is self-paced and objective based."
~ Rick Iannucci, Executive Director
Acknowledging the value of the military skills that each participant possesses, the horsemanship and ranch skills are the perfect template to restructure those skills. No previous horse or ranch experience is necessary to participate.
Here at the ranch we offer a calm and supportive atmosphere for both women and men Veterans and active military. We are drug and alcohol free, and most importantly, we are camarades, not counselors, in other words, we are family.
Our program is tailored to each individual participant - The sky's the limit to those who wish to carry on with the cowboy culture and pursue other aspects of ranching, or just come to be in the beauty of nature, bond with a magnificent creature and find that quiet place within.
"Quiet isn't defined as a lack of sound, but an awakening to a rhythm that's
based in the natural world."
~From Cowboys & Buckaroos by Tim O'Byrne
Ultimately our program is self-sustaining by the Veteran participants themselves as they complete the skills required for the different phases of the Cowboy Up! Program. This allows Veterans to become program instructors and under the volunteer mentor-ship of working ranch cowboys continue to work and train the program horses for future Veterans and active military members coming in to the program.
HORSES FOR HEROES - NEW MEXICO, INC.™
*There is no one size fits all PTSD whether you are a man or a woman. Not everyone's personal experience fits neatly in to the traditional definitions of PTSD and many times defies it. We like to call it Post Traumatic SPIRITUAL DISSONANCE™
For more on Post Traumatic Spiritual Dissonance™ Click Here.
Sharing knowledge, courage and vision, we work together with you and our horses to forge a new path to
Post Healing Strength.
Horsemanship and low stress cattle handling and sorting under
the mentor-ship of rancher / US Army Veteran Henry McKinley.
Henry McKinley January 1, 1929 - August 12, 2014
To see if you qualify for our free program click HERE
The above is our American Gold Star Mothers Memorial Wall to NM Fallen Heroes, located on the West wall of our Warrior Bunkhouse.
"The horse elevates us. Not just in altitude, but to a higher level of being. Without the horse, there wouldn't be cowboys."
~ Joel Nelson, Horseman and Veteran
+++ LESSONS FROM THE RANCH +++
Excerpt from Military Times, July 2012 by Kevin Coyne
Knowing not everyone can attend Cowboy Up!, Director Rick Iannucci provided advice for troops transitioning from combat to civilian life.
Work on controlling your emotions. Learn to focus on one specific task, and do not become deterred in the face of adversity.Understanding your emotions reaches beyond psychological understanding — it’s about being able to remedy a problem using acquired skills.
Think about how you got through a deployment. Use the same skills that got you through a deployment or a difficult training exercise. Always remember the perseverance you were taught. Remember completing the mission regardless of the conditions or perceived difficulty.
Don’t lose sight of your military values. Make a mental commitment to adapt, overcome and improvise when you face hardships.
Develop leadership reconnaissance.
This is being able to interpret and assess situations such as you might have been required to do downrange.
Practice mindfulness. Be present in the moment.
Reach deep into yourself and know that if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.
Let your work be your witness!
About Us & Our Mission ~ Isaiah 6:8
Horses For Heroes - New Mexico, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.
Cowboy Up! is a unique horsemanship, wellness and Skill-set Restructuring™ program based in Santa Fe, NM free to ALL post 9/11 Veterans and active military (both men and women) especially those who have sustained PTSD*, physical injuries, or have experienced combat trauma during their time serving our country. From day one Veterans are hands on with our horses beginning with groundwork and progressing to riding, as well as participating in other aspects of ranch life, including working cattle and more importantly experiencing the camaraderie with cowboys who are Veterans themselves.
Sharing our experience, our strengths, and hopes we give veterans a new and vital mission where they can recuperate, recreate, and reintegrate into their communities. We believe that Horsemanship is Leadership and by assisting veterans through the way of the horse and cowboy culture, we are able to support their journey, integrating mind, body and spirit.
We are staffed entirely by volunteers and are privately funded by your donations. 100% of your contributions goes to keeping our Heroes horseback.
Please Note: We are totally independent of and NOT affiliated with any other 'Horses for Heroes' program, or programs with similar sounding names.
We are honored to be endorsed by NM Department of Veterans’ Services, New Mexico Cattle Growers Association and their member ranches, Cimarron Maverick Club NM, Working Ranch Cowboys Association (WRCA), Wrangler National Patriot Program, and Gold Star Mothers of America - Albuquerque Chapter.
To see if you qualify please read through our FAQ's Here.
"Horses For Heroes Cowboy Up! is an extraordinary program for mind body and spirit and makes an exceptional contribution to the healing of veterans and all people who have suffered trauma, PTSD and shock! Rick Iannucci and his program is moving the world forward with the intuitive wisdom of horses to bring forth healing!
~ Dr. Ronald A. Alexander
OpenMind Training Institute, Santa Monica, CA