Equine Therapy for Veteran’s Untilizing Brannaman Horsemanship

I have been busy working on developing a Socially Conscious Business (Social Enterprise) where we provide Equine Therapy for Veterans!!  This is a very exciting time for me as I have become quite clear on what I would like to see happen long term for me, my horses as well as our beautiful facility.  I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to run our exceptional Equestrian Facility with my six horses…Jessie, Scamp and JT (3 formally “unwanted” horses) as well as my 2 foster boys Maximus and Flynn from Hope For Horses. My primary goal for the last few months has been to find a positive and healthy way for my horses to have a “job” where they have purpose with as minimal “wear and tear” as possible on their body and minds.

Buck Brannaman ClinicEquine Therapy programs currently exist across the country but from what I can see…non of them follow the Buck Brannaman, Ray Hunt Tom Dorrance Horsemanship with their therapy horses.  There has been some debate on whether horses used in therapy situations are really being treated and thought of in a fare and human way.  Not to say there is “actual abuse” in these types of programs…but there can be a debate on whether the therapy programs are in the “best” interest of the horse.  My goal is to provide an environment that supports the highest and greatest good for both horses and humans!!

The way in which I hope to provide the best support for the horses and indirectly supporting the Veterans; is by utilizing the Brannaman Horsemanship.  It’s my belief my therapy horses will be physically as well as mentally supported through the Ground Work; allowing the horse to feel confident working with the Veterans.

I am excited to see how this path will continue to unfold for me and my horses.  The thought of each horse having a “purpose” well into their years even after they are no longer comfortable carrying a rider, but have a ton of life left…is the best!!

The first few months of 2012 will be spent continuing the Foundation Horsemanship with my horses, building the infrastructure for my Social Enterprise “Horses For Veterans”, building relationships with our local military organizations and gaining the necessary  certifications to begin working with our local Veteran’s and their therapists.

I am looking forward the 2012!!

  • Jeanne_shepard

    Sounds wonderful.

    • Vanessa Howard

      Thanks Jeanne!!

  • Mariannehoward2010

    I am so happy that Vanessa has found her passion with her horses.   The late great Lukie pony was a testament to how an older (35) equine can continue to help his human partners by teaching them the Buck Brannaman  groundwork.  Lukie had a wonderful life and was rehabilitated in his mid twenties using this method.   When he could no longer show or be ridden he was our go to horse to teach newcomers groundwork.  Creating dance partners with our horses on the ground and in the saddle !  I can’t wait to help out with this new program for our Veterans !   Thank you Vanessa for making this happen !

    • Vanessa Howard

      Thanks Mom!

      I would not have been able to do any of this without your original vision and love for saving horses! I am excited to see how this will all unfold for us, our horses and the facility!


  • http://www.facebook.com/claire.dorotik Claire Dorotik

    As a practitioner of EAP, and a licensed MFT with over 20 years experience with horses, I COMPLETELY agree with you that some EAP methods do not seem to treat the horse as a living being, and instead just a therapy prop. I also write a blog for psychcentral.com on equine therapy, and blogged about this very subject. Here’s the link:

    http://blogs.psychcentral.com/equine-therapy/2011/11/equine-therapy-an-open-letter/Glad to see a fellow horse advocate in the EAP field. Best of luck to you!Claire Dorotik M.A., author, ON THE BACK OF A HORSE: Harnessing the Healing Power of the Human-Equine Bondwww.clairedorotik.com

    • Vanessa Howard

      Hi Claire,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and respond!! I am excited to read your Blog this afternoon!


  • http://www.theperiscopegroup.com/ Aaron Howard

    Vanessa, this is very cool. Count me in to help you get it setup. A great addition to the Rider’s Edge Farm lineup.

    • Vanessa Howard

      Thanks Dad!!

  • Kayce

    Vanessa, I think you are the only barn (that is also involved in hunter jumpers) that is subscribed to this type of horsemanship and it is great!  13 years ago I bought a two year old hunter prospect and when “conventional” training methods didn’t work I took her to Greg Eliel (Buck trained him) for six months.  I had a horse like no other in my barn, we were one.  I never put her on a lunge line, even in a new place.  I had to sell her when I went to college, it was the hardest thing I have ever done.  I bought her back one year ago, in bad shape mentally and physically.  Took her to the Buck Clinic in November and have watched her turn back into the horse I once knew.  I would love to hear about how you are incorporating this into your training program and how that is working.  Love your idea for veterans as well!