Horses for Forces Helping Long Beach Vets

Horses for Forces

Returning home can be difficult for many military veterans, especially those suffering through severe physical and psychological problems. But a Long Beach program called Horses for Forces is trying to help heal them through the magic of animals.

All this happens at a sanctuary just a short distance from both the Metro and the 405 freeway. There visitors can escape city life and all its stress and relax in a place full of flowers and hummingbirds, and especially horses.

One such visitor is Abbie Johnson, whose traumatic experiences while serving in the U.S. Navy made it difficult for her to trust others. But in this sanctuary she is finding healing with Tristan, who was once a race horse but who is now Abbie's guide to getting better.

Abbie says that she feels alive when riding Tristan. She further says that just being able to move on the horse, and move on it as one being, has helped her tremendously.

But keeping horses can be expensive. They need to be stabled and cared for. Though Horses for Forces, which is run by Dreamcatcher L.A., provides them to veterans free of charge, as well as all classes. They are able to do this through benefactors such as The Hollywood Charity Horseshow, which is an annual June fundraiser supported by Priceline and Wells Fargo, and organized by actor William Shatner.

Shatner believes that the show is a way for everyone to offer a hand to veterans in need.

Joan Blank, who is the founder of the program, says that she started it because there are so many veterans in the Los Angeles area and many need help. She further says that they work closely with V.A. hospitals in both Long Beach and Los Angeles.

Horses for Forces also teaches veterans how to care for horses, and Blank says that many of them eventually get jobs in the field.


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