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A Development Program for Veterans

Horse Wisdom for Heroes

The experience is designed to give participating veterans…

· 6 in-person sessions of 1.5 to 2-hours each at First Nature Ranch

· Interaction with other veterans and facilitators in a community of safety

· Experiences of deep connection with horses, nature, and the group

· Understanding of group dynamics to transform conflict into collaboration

· Tools and resources that can be integrated into life

· Experiences to enhance self-awareness, resilience-building, and growth


Through the time in the program, participants will gain tools to...

1. Experience a sense of peacefulness within

2. Increase their sense of connection and belonging

3. Enhance their self-awareness and strengthen their reflection and renewal practices

4. Identify habitual behavioral patterns that impede their effectiveness

5. Reconnect with the natural world

6. Feel some joy and hope in a world of urgent challenges

Desired outcomes for each veteran participant include...

helping veterans foster a sense connection and reduce isolation, develop practices for greater self-awareness, emotional and social regulation, and relational skills to improve their individual and collaborative outcomes in their relationships at home, at work, and elsewhere in life. This leads to greater personal life satisfaction, a sense of meaning, purpose, and hope, and to be of contribution within their communities.


Evaluated Outcomes:

· Improved Emotional Self-regulation and Awareness

· Stronger Social Connectedness

· Connection to Hope and Purpose

· Mindfulness and Stress Reduction

· Enhanced Mood, Optimism and Self Confidence

Program Details:

Sessions will build upon one another. We will start with a meet and greet and check in with the facilitators, conversation about creating an emotional safe space and physical safety around the horses. We will focus on building connection with others and then discuss strategies and practices for respectfully approaching the horses, eventually haltering,

hanging with and, as they make progress with this, leading and grooming the horses. Light refreshments will be served.


More detail about the activities included in the program:

· Herd Observation – Understanding herd dynamics and learning horse body language so participants can learn how to communicate with them using their own body language

· Building Connection – developing our approach to the horses and building our herd to create a sense of belonging

· Space awareness – developing and setting safe boundaries, including awareness about our own bodies and energy how these affect the horses

· Haltering – Getting the horse’s permission and preparing/positioning to halter in which the participant learns the difference between accepting versus tolerating

· Grooming – Connection using touch with our bodies, then our grooming tools; finding itchy-scratchy places, allowing mutual grooming, learning how horses groom each other

· Leading – Being a respected, respectful, and clear leader for a horse to follow requires body awareness, space sharing, and body language

If you are interested in bringing a group of veterans for this six week program, or partnering with the program, please email

We are not currently accepting individual applications for this program.

*First Nature Foundation is a Equine and Nature Facilitated Development center. We do not provide any form of equine therapy.*

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