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Rescued Mustangs soothe PTSD veterans

Four Mustangs from a rescue shelter in Canyon City, Colorado were adopted by the Medicine Horse Program, a nonprofit mental health organization in Colorado, and paired them with veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, the Daily Camera reports.

The Fearless Victory Project, part of the non-profit that specializes in equine-assisted therapy based in Boulder, puts veterans with PTSD back in nature to practice meditative techniques that scientists have proven reduce the biological symptoms of the disorder, Executive Director Kathy Johnson told the news source.

Generally, PTSD is treated through several types of cognitive behavioral therapy, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Exposure therapy and group therapy are also common, but equine therapy is becoming more widely used.

These four horses are particularly helpful because they have suffered their own trauma, Johnson says. The horses were separated from their family groups and have had to run from helicopters and be kept in holding pens, so they show PTSD symptoms like anxiety, depression and anger.

The project is free to veterans and uses mindfulness training to treat PTSD. Each monthly meeting includes 10 minutes of mindfulness meditation with the mustangs, then mindfulness practice in training the horses. 
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