May 2015 Breaking Free began a new "Horses for Heroes" program for Veterans in our area. This program has been many years in the planning and we are excited to have it up and running this year.
In a barn filled with the smells of dust, hay, and manure, horses nicker to each other from their stalls waiting for feed and attention. Far from any hustle and bustle, the Breaking Free farm located in rural Norwich offers a quiet calm atmosphere in which one can begin learning about horses or became reacquainted with the horse world they were once a part of. It is a place to come and take one's mind off of everything going on, and just focus on your equine partner and learning new horsemanship skills.
Breaking Free's Horses for Heroes program is open to all eligible US Veterans who are interested in working with or around horses or in a farm and barn atmosphere.
The Horses for Heroes program will allow Veterans to identify their own goals for the program and to work individually, or in a group setting with their horse partner and an instructor. The first day at the barn is spent becoming acquainted with the horses. One can progress from there to learning to groom and saddle a horse to riding and going on trail rides.
We have two paths to choose from:non-mounted equine care, handling, and understanding or mounted recreational riding and lessons with an instructor. Whether you want to work with horses or just help out around the farm, Breaking Free Horses for Heroes has a place for you. There is no need for previous experience with equine; our staff will work with you to learn as much or as little as you want about equine. Once finished with the program Veterans are encouraged to return and help future Veteran's coming into the program.
Breaking Free's Horses for Heroes mission is to partner with veterans and community organizations to provide an equestrian therapeutic environment to support and strengthen veterans' physical, emotional and psychological well being so they may lead independent, healthy and dignified lives.
Breaking Free's Horses for Heroes program goals are:To provide FREE, military helping military therapeutic equine activities to local veterans in ours and 4 surrounding Counties. To support and encourage veterans social and emotional connections to horses and other veterans. To provide an inviting, supportive environment for veterans. Horses won't judge where you've been or where you are going. They force your focus to be in the moment and are in tune to every emotion and movement you present them.
If you or a Veteran you know is interested in participating in our program, you can contact us directly or through your County VA Clinic.
On November 13, 2014 Breaking Free participated in the nationwide movie screening of "Riding My Way Back" a documentary about a Veteran, a Horse, and Hope. You can visit their website to purchase the film and other merchandise.