Military personnel can experience a variety of physical, psychological and social benefits by using these sensitive, no-nonsense animals as learning tools in non-riding, goal-oriented activities. Every activity – from simple grooming to fun team challenges – is intended to empower participants and help them rediscover their resiliency.
Our PALS curriculum was developed by a licensed social worker, and sessions are led by two or more horse professionals. Sessions are tailored to address specific issues faced by wounded and traumatized individuals, assist them in making the transition to civilian life and help them to build healthy relationships.
In our PALS program, the barn becomes a unique classroom where the horses serve as relationship mentors, allowing participants to hone fundamental life skills like safety, communication and setting boundaries in an enjoyable and memorable way. The goal is for participants to strengthen life skills while developing a greater sense of self-respect, confidence and esteem through their interactions with horses and each other.
Through this program, we’ve worked with individuals, as well as veteran groups from the VA Hospital in Lyons, NJ, including the PTSD unit for men and women, Drug & Alcohol Addiction/Recovery for homeless men and women, Female Victims of Military Sexual Trauma and the Geriatric unit.
Through a partnership between the Professional Association for Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) International and Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), we are able to provide horse-assisted programming to WWP alumni free of charge. Financial assistance may also be available for non-WWP alumni.
We also offer PALS sessions for military personnel (active duty or veteran) together with their families, riding sessions for children of military personnel and a summer extended-day program (Operation Pony Power) for children of military personnel living in Bergen County.