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Working with horses, veterans get chance to heal
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Posted 2018-04-04 7:18 AM (#70523)
Subject: Working with horses, veterans get chance to heal

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In Onslow County, a special ranch is working closely with veterans suffering from traumatic brain injuries, offering them a chance to heal by working with horses. The 33-acre facility is home to the Horse and Family Institute, a program teaching veterans to be more aware of their own behaviors in order to improve counication.
“The horses are so good at helping them find the pressure that they exude in everyday situations,” Christopher Robbins, executive director of the institute, said. “They find themselves.”
It’s the unspoken communication between veterans and the horses that’s so integral in this healing process. Here, on this peaceful ranch in Jacksonville, the lives of veterans suffering from traumatic brain injuries are forever changed.
“It turned my family life around,” Lucien D., a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, said. “I have a better relationship with my children and my spouse.”
20-year Marine veteran Chad Welch also came to the institute to improve his family life.
“I used to come home from work and there was zero communication between me and my wife, and I mean literally zero,” Welch said. “I was kind of skeptical. Everyone was like, ‘You’re going to work with animals and learn how to communicate with other people via animals.’ I was like how is this going to help me talk to my wife?”
Inside the pen is where the magic happens. Horses like Snoopy, Dollar and Kit Kat act as responsive tools. Veterans lead them using only body language, which the horses mirror.
“They don’t lie, they don’t know how to lie,” Hollon G., a USMC veteran, said. “So every reaction that you get from them is truthful and it’s based off of what you’re portraying.”

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