Kentucky war veterans find peace in the pasture after returning home from war

07/11/2016 05:42 PM

RICHMOND – Returning Kentucky war veterans who may have physical and emotional scars from their time served, may be able to find therapeutic help in the form of horses.

Since September 2010, the Appalachian Foothills Therapeutic Equestrian Center has been offering Equine Services for Heroes, a program in which veterans can receive horse therapy at no cost.

In addition, the center serves a number of paying customers receiving therapeutic treatment with the horses.

Mark Martin, the center’s executive director, says there are 12 veterans who are currently taking part in the program by either riding horses or serving as volunteers.

Martin believes that there are some very specific reasons why horses are therapeutic for humans.

“I think that they build confidence, they realize that the horse reads more than just language,” Martin said. “They read intent, body language, and your eyes; so they become aware of very subtle signals that might or might not affect their personal life. The horse reflects what is going on emotionally within the participant.”

The first veteran to take advantage of the program was U.S. Army Iraqi War veteran Drew Adamson, who suffered severe brain damage as a result of an anoxic brain injury in November 2008.

Drew’s mother Nancy, called Martin and actually brought her son to the center for his first encounter in September 2010.

“This is probably the best therapy that Drew has had in his whole six years,” Martin said. “We started probably a few months after he was home and it’s been something that we’ve continued with the whole six years. “It’s been a continuous therapy and he’s made more progress in this, and then any other therapy that he’s been in.

Martin says the program is funded through donations as well his paying customers. The program has partnered with Eastern Kentucky University’s Veterans Affairs since the department is dedicated to supporting veterans and military families.

For more information visit or call 606-965-2158.


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