Riding Out the Storm: Our Partnership with Heroes and Horses

A Unique Partnership

One, two, three, push, up. One, two, three, push, up. This is the rhythm of a horse’s canter. The canter is the second-fastest motion for a normal horse, and a challenge for most humans to ride. It’s like a swift three-beat dance with moments in the air. It’s also like the partnership that Angel Wings for Veterans shares with Heroes and Horses.

Healing on Horseback

Heroes and Horses is based in Montana. The program that they use has three phases.

Phase One is Stress Inoculation. Similar to a vaccine, veterans experience stressful situations so they can handle sources of stress in the future. In the base camp, veterans have five days of training. They learn basic horsemanship, riding, and how to ride in packs. After completing this, they take a seven-day pack trip through rugged wilderness.

After a five-day survival course, the veterans enter Phase Two, Application. This is self-explanatory – they apply what they have learned in Phase One and the course. In this phase, veterans build on what they have learned in previous steps. They learn more about how to care for horses, people, and ultimately themselves. After this, they embark on a ten-day pack trip in the Beartooth Mountains. When they reach their destinations, the group is split into pairs, and they find their way back to base camp.

Phase Three, Integration, is the culmination of the program. Veterans learn to work with wilderness outfitters, on ranches, or in further horse training. They can go to areas outside Montana, such as Wyoming, Utah, or Alaska.

Lifted by Hope

This intense program is offered at no cost to veterans. However, transportation can become an obstacle. The program is in the remote West. Few can afford to fly that far. The partnership with Angel Wings for Veterans enables veterans to access the healing that Heroes and Horses offers.

One, two, three, push, up. One, two, three, push, up. The three stages of Heroes and Horses are like the three steps of a canter, allowing veterans to ride out the storm. Angel Wings for Veterans gives a much-needed push. With the strength they discover through this partnership, veterans find a rhythm of hope that lifts them up.

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