How Our Horses Help Our Veterans

When Veterans come to the ranch and meet our horses they soon realize that it is the horse who is their teacher. Horses carry us both physically and spiritually and experiencing a horse either through ground work or riding is transforming. As our Native American brothers tell us, the horse is our connection between the physical world and the spiritual world.

Horses teach us to focus our intention by commanding us to be in the present moment. They are Zen masters, with gentle spirits who help us to live in the here and now, to be aware, and help one to achieve tranquility.  

The horse has long been known as the symbol of transcendence and that is exactly what they do here, they help our Veterans to transcend, rise above, surpass, eclipse and throw into the shade adversity. Horses will help you to create that inner peace that we all can use, if you are willing to listen and learn.

"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

Horses are great teachers ~ they perceive, interpret and respond to where we are in the moment thus creating an opportunity to help us with:

Learning to be present and live in the moment
Attain inner peace and calm
Build confidence and leadership
Develop boundaries
Move beyond fear
Learning to trust
Improve communication
Increase energy and vitality
Expand our awareness and
Work through Grief & Loss

A Little Horse Wellness History 

Riding horses has a long history as a therapeutic treatment. As early as 600 B.C., Hippocrates wrote about “riding's healing rhythm” for both mental and physical improvement.  English and French physicians between A. D. 1600 and 1900 prescribed riding as a treatment for treating neurological conditions and improving posture, balance, and joint movement.  Great Britain officially recognized the benefits of equitherapy in the early 1900s, using horses to aid in the rehabilitation of wounded soldiers at Oxford Hospital during and after World War I.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ~ Lawrence Freeborg

Utilized in Germany and the United Kingdom in the rehabilitation of World War II veterans, the therapeutic nature of riding gained momentum in the U.K. and the United States following the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games when, despite having paralysis form polio, Liz Hartel of Denmark won the silver medal for dressage.  This great achievement caused medical and equine professionals to take notice of the physical and emotional benefits of horseback riding for rehabilitation.  Some of the benefits noted:

      * Builds self-esteem, empathy, and a sense of responsibility through the relationship with the horse.          
      * Improves posture, balance, symmetry and muscle control through the rhythmic movement of riding
      * Gives riders self-confidence through the leadership they exhibit with their mount    
      * Encourages a new visual perspective of independence

Whether grooming or going horseback horses have so much to share.

Retired Four-legged Instructors Hall of Fame

Our Horses serve our veterans with the same heart and valor and dedication
that our Veterans have served us with.  Once their service is complete, we 
place them in proper and loving homes.  

With deep appreciations and  love we honor them here.


Rain Dancer is now retired from all his work including working cattle and chasing bulls.  He lives in Abiquiu, NM with two lovely girls who dote on him regularly.


The Horse             ~ By Ronald Duncan

Where in the wide world can man find 
Nobility without pride, 
Friendship without envy 
Or Beauty without vanity? 
Here, where grace is laced with muscle, 
And Strength by gentleness confined. 
He serves without servility, 
He has fought without enmity.
There is nothing so powerful, 
Nothing less violent; there is nothing 
So quick, nothing more patient. 
All of our past has been borne on his back. 
All our history is his industry, 
We are his heirs, he our inheritance. 
Ladies and Gentlemen – 
The Horse.


There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.  
~ Winston Churchill

Aztec & Duke 
are back home in Cimarron, NM soaking up the sun and breathing in the fresh mountain air.  

Sokee (to the right and just below) is living in Los Alamos with one of our 4-H girls and is active in 4-H, in fact this year he took First and Third place in 2011 Districts!  Sokee lives with Chip who also shows.  Here is Sokee in his new life... as Julia keeps us updated on all their adventures.


The Cowboy Up! program features the American Quarter Horse  |  American Quarter Horse Association ID #:  1832444

Duke has been a great instructor to our  veterans, not only did he teach them how to ride, he also took them out on our Program Partner ranches to gather and work cattle.  We wanted Duke to have more time to relax with lighter work, so his next journey is in helping the kids of AMI Kids in Cuba, NM where he will help them find themselves and find their inner peace.




Star is back home in Colorado with his previous family and
old horsey friends. His training here groomed him for his new job
working with a young man with a traumatic brain injury.


Moon Dancer 
is loving life with all his mares.  He lives just down the road and is enjoying retirement by spending some time heading out on the trails.