“My journey during the past year started with a love of horses, but unbeknownst to me, it would turn into a year of therapeutic recovery involving a particular equine named Captain.

Captain has been part of the therapeutic riding program at Hope Rising Farm in Millerton, NY. When I started volunteering there, I didn’t realize that would be the start of my healing journey. I retired from military service six years ago and was dealing with some lingering effects of post-traumatic stress. The farm and Captian became my sanctuary and salvation.

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Captain seemed to sense my anxiety and was always willing to provide the patience and comfort I sorely needed in my life. He was spirited and playful which helped me leave my anxieties behind and I soon became comfortable enough around him to consider riding again—something I hadn’t done in 20 years. I’d given up hope of fulfilling this dream— especially as an older rider—and had convinced myself I didn’t have the capability to follow through.

Captain, however, gave me confidence. We started working from simple movements to trotting to independent riding within a year. As far as I’m concerned, Captain is a true hero since he helped me conquer my fears, stuck by me through my apprehensive moments, and enabled me to surpass my goals. I’m truly grateful for and humbled by this extraordinary equine I now call my friend.” —Rosanne V.

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