Veterans with PTSD find comfort taming wild mustangs

Veterans with PTSD find comfort taming wild mustangs

MILFORD, OH (FOX19) - On 19 acres of pasture in Milford, a unique therapy is changing the lives of thousands of Tri-State veterans who struggle daily with PTSD.

For some, traditional therapy isn't enough. But some vets are becoming "horse whisperers," in a unique program that unites vets and wild mustangs.

The program is called WORTH -- or "Warrior's Own Road to Horsemanship."

For over 30 years the Cincinnati Therapeutic Riding and Horsemanship center has provided equine therapy to children and adults with disabilities.

The vets are training wild mustangs and as they calm the horses, they calm their own spirits.

Ron Liming is the resident "horse whisperer."

Liming's domain is in the round pen, where a scared, abused animal learns to trust.

With the introduction of two wild mustangs rounded up out west, veterans with PTSD are learning to overcome the trauma of war by training and gentling wild horses.

"That animal has been through the same traumatic experience as the vets have," said Rob Seidman, program executive director.

Josie, an Army veteran who suffers from PTSD, said she tried traditional therapy and medications without significant success -- until she came to the farm about a year ago.

"It was a confidence builder for me. It made me feel more comfortable. A lot of the fears I had, it made that stuff go away," said Josie.

An all-women's vets group is starting the program soon -- joining hundreds of Tri-State vets already in the mustang program.

"So many vets, who deal with PTSD, military sexual trauma -- they're tired of telling their story, they're tired of sitting in therapy groups, they're tired of prescriptions and sometimes they want something different and sometimes it takes something different to treat their needs," said Shirly May with Cincinnati VA Medical Center

They're hoping to add more wild mustangs to the program in the near future. Once the animals are gentled, they are adopted out.

For more information about the Cincinnati Therapeutic Riding and Horsemanship center, visit their website.

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