Motivated by the tragic events of 9/11 and the heroic acts that followed at home and abroad, Las Vegas-based Horses4Heroes was created in 2006. Horses4Heroes was created to say "thank you" to the men and women whose daily sacrifices keep us safe and free, by making it possible for these heroes and their families to ride a horse affordably.
Today, Horses4Heroes, through its growing national network of more than 300 kid-friendly, family friendly facilities in 44 states and Canada, offers able-bodied, affordable horseback riding programs that emphasize fun and safe activities with horses, mounted and un-mounted for all ages. Participants learn valuable leadership and teamwork skills, make new friends, and develop a lifelong love of horses! The organization serves families of all service members, Veterans, First Responders and other heroes in communities across the country.
In March 2014, Horses4Heroes relocated its operations from the backyard of its founder, Sydney Knott, to historic Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs, a 680-acre "jewel in the desert," conveniently located in the northwest area of Las Vegas. The move was made possible through a grant from Cox Charities and the generosity of the Associated General Contractors of Las Vegas, who built the necessary facilities as a community service project. The non-profit also receives funds from the South Point Hotel and Casino, Wrangler National Patriot, William Shatner's Hollywood Charity Horse Show, C-A-L Ranch and the American Horse Council. Donations support free life skills programs and provide scholarships to allow family members of returning combat veterans to take riding lessons or attend camp.
At the Horses4Heroes Community Equestrian Center at Tule Springs, open seven days a week, program participants enjoy affordable lessons, attend open houses, play days, summer camps, birthday parties, and participate in local horse shows. Guests can take a horse-drawn wagon ride tour of Floyd Lamb Pak at Tule Springs. Free health and wellness programs include: Back in the Saddle for adult men and women; 8«9«10: Ride to Win, a four-week social skills workshop for kids in grades 3-5; Stay Strong, a family reunification program; and Operation Free Ride, the opportunity for military personnel and their families to schedule an appointment to ride a horse for free. Operation Free Ride events are held annually at Cheyenne Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wyoming; River City Rodeo in Omaha, Nebraska; and in Las Vegas, the Senior National Finals Rodeo and in the Fan Fest during the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
While the organization was created for those whose Call of Duty is to protect and serve, it's the work with those who need Horse Power in their lives that is truly gratifying, according to founder Sydney Knott. Horses4Heroes' programs uses equine facilitated work to teach life skills through guided horse interaction. This is what separates it from therapeutic riding, driving, vaulting, hippo therapy and other methodologies. The life skills taught can be applied to many different areas of life, for all ages from preschoolers to adults. Programs are offered for veterans with PTS/TBI/MST, victims of domestic abuse and violence, and teens and adults who are battling addictions (gambling, drugs, alcohol and prescriptions).
Why horses? Horses are empowering! Horses are large and extremely powerful. Handling an animal of this size and strength increases the students’ confidence and decreases their fears and self doubt. This creates a natural opportunity for some to overcome fear, develop self confidence, gain control over their surroundings, and focus on the moment, not the past or the future.
"Empowerment leads to confidence and confidence is linked to self-esteem," said Nanci Stone, a life skills coach who works with Horses4Heroes. "Horses make you feel better about yourself, allowing you to reflect a more positive image."
For more information about Horses4Heroes, visit their web site at www.Horses4Heroes.org or call 702.645.8446 or 702.885.1943
Article written by Horses4Heroes