Bristol Farm heals veterans through horses - WFSB 3 Connecticut


Bristol Farm heals veterans through horses

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A Bristol farm started a program to help veterans suffering from emotional issues heal through horses.

Shepard Meadows said its job is to make the transition to life at home a little easier.

Nicole Knoll began to rebuild her life there following years of service with the Connecticut Army National Guard.

She was deployed to Afghanistan in 2012.

Knoll said she served there just shy of a year and worked closely with the Afghan National Army and local police to teach them law enforcement tactics.

"So now working here at Shepard Meadows has kind of been my transition out of the military, but still being able to work with the veteran community," Knoll said.

Knoll will become a mentor and counselor with the Shepard Meadows Therapeutic Riding Program.

She and the horses will help fellow veterans with issues like post-traumatic stress disorder make the transition back home.

It's something Knoll said can be an isolating challenge.

"We do various activities with the horses and the veterans to help them heal their wounds," said Renee Bouffard, social worker and certified equine specialist.

Bouffard explained that the veterans will have a chance to connect with the horses and created a bond with them.

They'll practice new skills designed to promote healthy relationships and emotion regulation.

The continuation of the program would not be possible without donations to fund the effort, at little-to-no cost to the vets.

Program organizers said it's a small price to pay for the sacrifices veterans have made through serving the country.

"It's great to get out there and to show everyone who we are and what we're doing and the good stuff we can do," Bouffard said.

The 10 week program begins on June 2.

Anyone who knows someone they think might benefit from the program in the future can give Shepard Meadows a call. More information can be found here.

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