Horses & Veterans of War

I’ll admit, I don’t know too many veterans. My Grandfather was one, a WWII vet, but he didn’t really talk about it. We only realized from a letter from one of his friends to my grandfather after his death that he had been a real hero.

My world has always been all about horses. I live in a country were I can live free and hang out with horses and my gender and religion doesn’t affect that a bit. You can’t say that of everywhere. You can say though, that our veterans, for better or worse, are ambassadors to the world. Sometimes I imagine all they rest of the world knows us by is Hollywood and that is a scary thought!

But so many of these people come home scarred, and our nation does far too little to support them on return. Physical after effects are one thing. But the psychological ones are worse.

“I said, ‘I have heard people talk about war as if it was a very fine thing.’ [Black Beauty]


Ah!’ said [Captain], ‘I should think they never saw it. No doubt it is very fine when there is no enemy, when it is just exercise and parade, and sham-fight. Yes, it is very fine then; but when thousands of good brave men and horses are killed, or crippled for life, it has a very different look.’
Do you know what they fought about?’ said I.
No,’ he said, ‘that is more than a horse can understand, but the enemy must have been awfully wicked people, if it was right to go all that way over the sea on purpose to kill them.”
― Anna Sewell, Black Beauty

And I know for sure, if there is one thing horses excel at, it’s therapy. It doesn’t have to be a program with ‘therapy’ in the name. Just being around a horse is therapy. It’s difficult to keep your mind on your own problems when you have a soft friend to brush, who never judges what you say to them, who lets you take a ride and exercise but still needs care and watching less they ignorantly plant a hoof on your foot.

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”
~Winston Churchill

Or, I would add, a woman.

Here is a sample list I found of LOTS of place involving horses and the military (as of 5/24/2014):

It just makes sense really, that horses should be there for the aftermath of mankinds traumatic battles. For many centuries they were there through them. From General Sheridan’s Winchester to Sgt. Reckless, horses, for better or worse has shared humanities battles. It only makes sense they would also share in the healing.

“This one isn’t just any old horse. There’s a nobility in his eye, a regal serenity about him. Does he not personify all that men try to be and never can be? I tell you, my friend, there’s divinity in a horse, and specially in a horse like this. God got it right the day he created them. And to find a horse like this in the middle of this filthy abomination of a war, is for me like finding a butterfly on a dung heap. We don’t belong in the same universe as a creature like this.”
― Michael Morpurgo, War Horse

May you, your family and all the veterans have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend.