So what exactly is Horses4Heroes?
"Horses4Heroes is able-bodied, affordable horseback riding for returning combat veterans and the entire family, which also needs healing and therapeutic interactions with horses," said Sydney Knott, President/Executive Director of Horses4Heroes, Inc.
Several Programs to Choose From
Horses4Heroes provides recreational, educational and health and wellness programs for adults and kids ages 2 and up. Below is brief overview of each of the programs:
StayStrong is one of the health and wellness programs offered by Horses4Heroes. Within the StayStrong program, members can choose from "Back in the Saddle," which is meant for adult men and women or "StayStrong for Families and Individuals."
Recently they've added another StayStrong program for kids ages 8-10 that's aptly titled, 8*9*10: Ride to Win! Through this program, kids learn essential life and leadership skills. "It is an important program for our communities right now and is designed to create fewer targets for playground and cyberspace bullies," said Sydney Knott.
Through sponsorship dollars and donations, all of the StayStrong programs are provided free of charge.
Get further details about the StayStrong program.
Horses4Heroes describes HorsePlay! as a mommy-and-me style program for kids ages 2-6. Through this program, which meets twice a week for three-hour sessions, young children receive age-appropriate riding lessons. They're also taught about horse and animal care, safety and the responsibilities that accompany owning a horse. The program also features arts and crafts, snack time and a host of other fun activities.
Get further details about the HorsePlay! program.
This particular program provides Western, English and Dressage lessons to beginners, intermediate and advanced riders. Through Horse101, members receive a deep discount off regularly priced lessons. Besides lessons, this program also offers camps, clinics and the opportunity to participate in horse shows. Furthermore, Horse 101 is open to individuals or the entire family, which is wonderful for families seeking an activity that they can all do together.
Get further details about the Horse101 program.
Operation Free Ride
Horses4Heroes offers a temporary respite from the daily challenges that military families of deployed servicemembers face—and they accomplish this by offering free superivsed weekly riding sessions in a guided and controlled setting. A Horses4Heroes membership is not required to partake in Operation Free Ride. Additionally, this program is also available to anyone who has a family member that's disabled or seriously ill.
Get further details about Operation Free Ride
"Membership for Heroes who want access to affordable, deeply discounted horseback riding programs and activities can join for a one-time fee of just $25 per family. Families who need the health & wellness programs and are not looking for our other services, may participate free of charge," Knott said.
To learn more about becoming a member and to download the application, please visit the Horses4Heroes Membership Benefits page on their Web site.
Finding a Horses4Heroes Facility
As Horses4Heroes continues to grow in popularity, so does the list of facilities that offer the programs. To find a Horses4Heroes facility in your area you may view a state-by-state listing here or you may also go to the locations' page on the Horses4Heroes Web site. If you can't find a facility listed in your area, please e-mail Sydney Knott at firstname.lastname@example.org and she'll do her best to try and locate one that's in your vicinity.
Serving More Than Military Families
Besides serving military personnel and their families, Horses4Heroes also serves law enforcement officers, firefighters, First Responders, critical care and hospice nurses, special needs school teachers, families that are suffering with serious chronic illnesses and/or disabilities, and individuals who have physically dangerous and/or emotionally demanding jobs.
Videos & Interview
There are several informative videos on the Horses4Heroes Web site that provide an excellent visual aid regarding all the benefits that Horses4Heroes provides. Additionally, Family of a Vet interviewed Sydney Knott on Blog Talk Radio. You may listen to this wonderfully insightful interview here.