TYLER, Texas — Tyler’s number one resource for veterans, CampV, kicked off an exciting and innovative new program today. Along with the Starbrite Center, they're providing free equestrian therapy for veterans.
"Equine therapeutic riding specifically, one it gets you off the couch, it gets you outside where the sunshine is, and then the horses do the work from there," said April Scarbrough, Starbrite program and site director.
Starbrite specializes in equine assisted activities, and they teamed up with Camp V because their work has tons of benefits for everyone, but specifically veterans.
"Being in an equine therapeutic riding program for four weeks reduces PTSD, anxiety, stress, all the things," Scarbrough said. "So, the horse is the therapist that just walks them through it."
On day one, riders learned how to confidently lead their horse around a circular pen, which may sound simple. But it's simple activities that can be such an important outlet to all veterans in East Texas.
"I was like, well I think that would help in our daily lives because life is very busy, and we need an outlet to get out emotions and things like that, and stress," said Kimberleighann Aguilar, Airforce veteran.
Aguilar formerly served in the air force, and she has a first-hand understanding of the issues that some veterans face every day.
"Because a lot of them have those kinds of issues of social isolation," Aguilar said. "So I feel like this, if they feel comfortable with horses (then) they’ll feel comfortable with people. (They'll) build more relationships and friendships, and have a positive impact on their lives and other people’s lives."
The program runs every Wednesday from 10 to 11 a.m. this August and is open not just to those that have served, but their families too.