“Never was so much owed by so many to so few.” -Winston Churchill
As a proud supporter of our veterans and a believer in the transformative power of horses, I am reaching out to you today to share a remarkable opportunity that holds the potential to change lives.
In 2018, Chesapeake Therapeutic Riding, Inc. (CTR), embarked on a mission that brings together two powerful forces: our cherished veterans and the healing power of horses. Our Horses and Heroes program for veterans aims to harness the healing energy and empathy that horses offer, providing a unique and effective avenue for veterans to reintegrate, heal, adapt, and thrive after their service. Since then, through a partnership with the Veterans Administration (VA), we can proudly share that we’ve been a place where almost 500 veterans of our American Armed Services have come to experience equine assisted services with our CTR Instructors, CTR volunteers, and our healing herd of horses. The veterans who come to CTR live with disabilities and diagnoses such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, and physical disabilities that they received through their service to our country.
The bond between humans and horses has been celebrated for centuries, with countless stories of the remarkable connections formed between these noble animals and the people they interact with. Research has shown that equine-assisted services can provide a multitude of benefits that complement traditional therapeutic approaches. Here are some of the ways veterans benefit from interacting with horses:
Veterans Appeal Sponsorship Levels
Hero Sponsor - supports all Veteran Programs for a month
Honor Guard Sponsor - supports all Veteran Programs for a week
Memorial Sponsor - supports all Veteran Programs for a day
Service Sponsor - supports one Veteran for a month
Walk On Sponsor
Boots On Sponsor
- Emotional Healing: Horses are incredibly intuitive creatures, capable of sensing human emotions. Through their gentle presence, veterans can experience a sense of calm, reduced anxiety, and can gradually process their emotions in a safe space.
- Building Trust and Communication: Working with horses requires clear communication and mutual trust. Veterans learn to communicate effectively, building skills that extend to their relationships with family, friends, and colleagues.
- Empowerment: The process of tending to and riding horses empowers veterans, giving them a sense of self-confidence, accomplishment, and agency. This newfound confidence often spills over into other areas of their lives.
- Physical Rehabilitation: The rhythmic movement of riding can be therapeutic for physical injuries, improving balance, coordination, and muscle strength.
- Community and Camaraderie: Our Horses and Heroes program fosters a strong sense of camaraderie among veterans. Sharing experiences and challenges with fellow veterans creates a supportive community that understands their unique journey.We are proud that over the past five years, CTR and our herd have been able to benefit hundreds of veterans by providing these services at NO COST to the veterans themselves, doing so through community donations and grant funding. However, to ensure this program’s future, and extend its reach to as many veterans as possible, we need your support. Your generous donation will directly fund equine care, professional guidance, and the resources necessary to create a nurturing environment for our veterans. By contributing, you become a vital part of their journey toward healing and renewed purpose. Your tax-deductible gift of any amount can make a substantial impact. Every donation, regardless of size, brings us closer to our goal.Together, I know that we can offer our nation’s veterans a path to healing, growth, and renewed purpose. Thank you for considering our cause and for your ongoing support for those who have served our nation.
Chesapeake Therapeutic Riding, Inc., also known as CTR, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation under Internal Revenue Service regulations (Federal Tax ID #26-0068227). A copy of our current financial statement is available by writing CTR at P.O. Box 475 Abingdon, MD 21009 or by calling (443) 528-7793. Documents and information submitted under the Maryland Solicitations Act are also available, for the cost of postage and copies, from the Maryland Secretary of State, State House, Annapolis MD 21401, (410) 974-5534. All contributions are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
Testimonials from VA Staff who bring their veterans to CTR:
“Veterans state feeling energized, de-stressed, and connected with their partners. They feel accomplished when they prove to themselves that they can do new things, and they feel relaxed being in a rural environment and being around the horses.”
“CTR really has been a wonderful experience for our vets and for ourselves. I’m glad the stars aligned, and we were able to make this happen.”
“Can we just say how amazing these last weeks have been? I’m so sad it’s over but so excited for the fall session…Safe to say these last eight weeks have made such a positive and powerful impact on our veterans and I’m excited for what the future holds.”
CTR staff, who provide these lessons, share:
“Vets often come to CTR for the first time with a lot of anxiety or fear because this is a new place, staffed by strangers and volunteers that they’ve never met before, and working with animals they might never have encountered. But then they come back the next week and it’s a little better, and the week after that and they are smiling more, joking more. And they remember what they learned, and they ask questions, and get engaged. You watch as they form friendships with their horses and with each other. It’s so wonderful to see because then, it’s like you’re meeting them again for the first time. It's like they blossom back into themselves. And you’re like, ‘Ah, there you are.’”
“When grooming the horses, you just see this peaceful feeling that washes over them. It has this calming and grounding effect. A lot of them came into it with a lot of fears being around big animals and they overcame those fears. They learned to trust that the big animals wanted to help them and not hurt them, and in learning to trust the herd of horses, they gradually learned to trust themselves.”
Testimonials from the veterans who’ve attended Horses and Heroes at CTR:
“It really brought me out of a depressive state. I had to care for an animal, it helped me to focus on the need of the horse.”
“Being here is relaxing. Grooming the horses is relaxing. It helps make my mind stop wandering.”
“Coming here makes me feel like I have a belonging to something.”
“Working with the horse helped my mental health. It helped me find peace in the simple things.”
“This really helps me gain respect for sentient beings. I think I had that once but lost it.”
“This has given me confidence in my ability to deal with my fears. It has improved how I focus on things, how I feel about myself, how I deal with my problems, and how I control my actions.”
“I was able to meet many people here and that gave me confidence. It helped how I deal with other people.”