La Crosse, WI (WXOW) -
For twenty five years Horse Sense of La Crosse has served the community as a resource for those with physical or mental challenges. The non-profit is now using that same technique to serve military veterans.
Bud the blue eyed draft horse is about the only thing that can take Terry Pearson's mind off Vietnam. "When I come down here and I yell 'Buddy' he lifts his head up looking for my voice," said Pearson.
The man who use to sleep 22 hours a day is now easing off the medications and using horses to heal. His wife says she can see a big difference.
"He seems much calmer and more focused and really enjoying how to put on the tack but riding is the most wonderful thing," said Valerie Pearson.
Maggie McDonald runs the program. She there are still so many people who don't understand how a horse can help a person with PTSD.
"The neat thing about horses is that they are flight animals so we have to learn how to deal with their reactions to things and we have to pay attention to. So we start all of our lessons on the ground learning about horse behavior and then they go through the motions of how to groom the horse, tack the horse and eventually they ride the horse," said McDonald.
Another part of the therapy is building confidence.
"I think because of the size that helps. When you have a relationship with a 1,200 pound animal it makes you feel good about it. You can't boss them around," said McDonald.
"It's really nice to bond with people where the bond is not war or Vietnam. You know there's other parts of life. There are other parts of Terry. There was a Terry before Vietnam and he enjoys discovering who that is," said Valerie Pearson.
You can help Horse Sense continue their programs that help children and adults with Special Needs and Veterans by attending the Horse Sense Fundraiser Saturday, January 17 at the Radisson in downtown La Crosse at 7:00 p.m. There's music by The Remainders, plus a silent auction. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. For more information go to www.hssr.org
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