Naples Therapeutic Riding Center (NTRC), a non-profit organization providing therapeutic horseback riding and other equine-facilitated group services to children and adults with physical, social and mental health needs, has teamed up with local Veteran and family care non-profit, Home Base SWFL, for a specialized equine-facilitated program tailored for Veterans, Service Members and their Families.
The new collaboration will kick off through Home Base SWFL’s Adventure Series, an initiative aimed at strengthening family bonds before, during and after military deployment. On February 19th, Veterans enrolled in Home Base SWFL’s Adventure Series participated in an educational horsemanship encounter where they were introduced to the NTRC horses, their mission and the many therapeutic benefits of equine therapy.
Home Base SWFL engages with local veterans to help them overcome the invisible wounds of war including post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, anxiety, depression, co-occurring substance use disorder, military sexual trauma and family relationship challenges.
During this specially designed horsemanship workshop, Veterans and their Family Members work directly with horses while engaging in a group process to overcome obstacles. The ground-based exercises are interactive and challenging. Participants work with NTRC’s certified equine specialists and therapy horses to improve mood, communication and well-being through a guided series of specially designed activities.
The Equine-Facilitated Adventure Series will conclude with time for food, refreshments and camaraderie among fellow veterans and military Families. Refreshments are donated by Gold Star Mothers of SWFL. The cost is free to attend for all participants.
Joe Logrippo, a US Marine Corps Veteran who did two tours in Iraq, participated in the Home Base Intensive Clinical Program to get help for his PTSD, survivor’s remorse and poor coping skills. “I had a ten-year steady decline into despair, self-isolation, fear and anxiety,” Logrippo said. “My therapist helped me a lot. I did a lot of work with self-care. I am much happier now.”
After participating in the NTRC Operation Strides program, Logrippo loved how he felt after being around a horse and signed up to volunteer to spend more time with the horses. “I feed the horses, clean the barn and help during lessons,” Logrippo added. “Now I am looking at ways to expand and advance equine healing to more local Veterans by connecting these two non-profits.”
This special Adventure Series is modeled after NTRC’s Operation Strides Veterans program which is open to all Veterans and their Families. Through the Home Base SWFL collaboration, their participants are welcome to attend upcoming Operation Strides sessions scheduled for February 26, March 26, April 23, and May 21 from 5:30 – 7 PM and can also participate in individual/family horsemanship sessions at no cost by contacting NTRC Program Director David McKenzie at 239-596-2988 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We are so excited to team up with Home Base SWFL to expand our equine-facilitated services to more Veterans and their Families,” said Missy Lamont, NTRC Executive Director. “The therapeutic benefits of our Veteran horsemanship programs provide opportunities to strengthen the family bonds, improve self-confidence, develop anger management skills, reduce anxiety and build social networks among fellow Veterans.”