Eddie Crain, the founder of HAH, got his first horse at 7 or 8 years old. Eddie has spent a lifetime working with and training horses. As a combat veteran he is well aware of their healing potential and wants to make it available to other veterans.
The idea of using a horse for therapy may seem like a peculiar idea to modern day Americans but the practice goes back to the ancient Greece. In around 460 BC Greek physician Hippocrates wrote about therapeutic riding, and the ”ridings healing rhythms”. The movement of the horse affects posture, balance, coordination, strength and sensorimotor systems.
The horse offers the Veteran the opportunity for recovery without re-experiencing the trauma. It is a non –invasive process. The horse is nonjudgmental, does not reject. It is just waiting for your direction. It forces the Veteran to be in the moment with a focus on being the leader in the relationship. That means communicating clearly with confidence and direction. Horses can sense your emotions and will react accordingly. When a Vet starts with the basics of approaching, touching and grooming, calming the horse they begin to feel and understand their own emotional behavior and how it affects the way the horse responds to them. This allows the Veteran a way to learn about trust and healthy relationships. It builds confidence, self-regulation and self-esteem. It looks simple but requires physical and emotional energy. Many Veterans will tell you “ an hour in the saddle is worth ten on the couch”.