Archive for the ‘Horses for Heroes’ Category

Veterans14


Honoring Veteran’s Day

Remembering Those who gave and sacrificed in
the name of peace.From all your friends at Windrush Farm

Pictured above: Horsemanship for Heroes at Windrush Farm
Watch a video about Windrush Farm’s 50th Anniversary

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This farm is a place you can come to be yourself. The horse doesn't care about your past; it only cares about you now, which helps a person stay present in the moment. It was a wonderful experience seeing these soldiers bond with horses, learning the value of horsemanship, and having a great time laughing at Windrush Farm.

This farm is a place you can come to be yourself. The horse doesn’t care about your past; it only cares about you now, which helps a person stay present in the moment. It was a wonderful experience seeing these soldiers bond with horses, learning the value of horsemanship, and having a great time laughing at Windrush Farm.

Inside an expansive indoor arena amidst a 35 acre farm in North Andover, a Halflinger pony named Squash and four other horses help veterans heal the invisible wounds of combat.

The horses are part of Windrush Farm’s “Horsemanship for Heroes,” a program that helps returning veterans suffering from emotional or physical disabilities due to combat through working with horses.

Today’s group of 12 comes from the Wounded Warriors’ Project Odyssey. Project Odyssey helps soldiers overcome combat stress through outdoor, rehabilitative retreats that encourage a connection with nature, peers, staff and counselors.

Joined by more than the same amount of enthusiastic volunteers, the warriors participated in unmounted activities. These involved the veterans trying to “read” the horses based on their actions and behaviors; hands-on work of brushing and grooming; and active involvement including leading and lunging.

An Air Force veteran, Donald O’Hagan, has been riding at Windrush Farm since 2008. “It’s an opportunity for us to focus on and look forward to something outside of regular life”, says O’Hagan. “It takes the focus off of everyday problems.” Today, Donald is volunteering his time to assist his fellow soldiers on their journey at the farm.

The camaraderie was evident from the moment the group set foot on the property.  There were chuckles and smiles as each warrior enjoyed their time on the farm. Not only were they improving their self-esteem and confidence, but were also experiencing a connection with the nature and their peers.

“The most meaningful comments I heard throughout the day were the warriors looking for therapeutic centers near their hometowns in PA, Utah, Texas so that they could continue working with horses once they return.” says Jenna Turcotte, Windrush Farm program director.

“Working with the Wounded Warrior Project at Windrush Farm is an excellent example of how horses can heal people,” says Rachel Bernstein, an instructor in training. “This farm is a place you can come to be yourself. The horse doesn’t care about your past; it only cares about you now, which helps a person stay present in the moment. It was a wonderful experience seeing these soldiers bond with horses, learning the value of horsemanship, and having a great time laughing at Windrush Farm.”

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Happy Friday

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Today Windrush Farm hosted a half day program for 12 clients from the Wounded Warriors Project. Along with the assistance of a dozen volunteers, the crew toured the property, groomed and led horses, participated in a long-lining and listened to a few lectures. What an awesome day!

Check out all the photos!

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VA

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Our friends from the Bedford VA came for their horsemanship session today. Thanks for a lovely afternoon!

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Contributed by Hayley Barrett

When an individual enters the United States’ military, they elect to shoulder the heavy burden of protecting this country and its citizens. This selfless service to others speaks for itself. So when military personnel have time to spare, it would be understandable if they simply rested from their responsibilities.

But they don’t. “It’s an honor,” affirms Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas Rooney, “to spend time with veterans at Windrush Farm.” Along with 28 fellow sailors from the USS Constitution at the Charlestown Navy Yard, Officer Rooney volunteers for Windrush’s Horses for Heroes (H4H) program, which offers clients of the Bedford VA Medical Center an equine-assisted approach to physical and psychological health. “We listen to their stories,” Rooney explains, “and tell them what it’s like to serve in the Navy today.”

(more…)

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