The great Mr. Rogers told of a lesson he learned from his Mom. He was fretting over some disaster they were watching on TV with all the chaos and activity. It unsettled Fred, and his mother said, "Freddy, always look for the helpers." Well, this is a story of helpers through and through.
My son, Chuck, and I have an online business that features products that help Horses, Dogs, and Cats with some of the discomforts they experience doing what Horses, Dogs, and Cats do in the course of their active days. There is a strange paradox, especially when it comes to horses. When they are stressed due to abuse, transportation, training, and especially performance, ie. Barrel Racing, Jumping, or Running, they experience what I call The Performance Paradox. They experience many symptoms like sore muscles or tendons, upset stomach, etc. We provide a line of the best horse health products and horse care supplies to help them through this healing period.
While discussing our business one evening (pre-COVID) around the Dining table, my extraordinary 15-year-old granddaughter shared what she was up to. What follows is a blog post I did on my Caring Grandparents website. It is about just such Helpers. I hope you enjoy it.
I have written before about being a "Good seer and good sayer," so here goes. My wonderful 15-year-old granddaughter Mars was volunteering (pre-COVID) with a most fascinating and, quite frankly, Magic program in Western North Carolina, where she lives. The program is called "HEART OF HORSE SENSE'. The Founder and the Executive Director is Shannon Knapp.
From their website, "Heart of Horse Sense was initially founded to support quality, professional trauma-informed equine therapy services for Veterans, First Responders, At-Risk Youth & their families. Our mission has expanded now to include all survivors of trauma. Our vision is that every trauma survivor has access to counseling and learning with horses".
In 2013 Shannon began with a program for socially challenged youth from a local public housing complex. With that first group, her comment was, "The staff of Children First and Horse Sense of the Carolinas were all crying at the bright, kind eyes of the kids in contact with the horses," says Knapp. "Kids the staff had never seen smile before were beaming on horseback on a beautiful summer day. That was my moment of, 'We must keep doing this.'"
Shannon then partnered with Jake, a Marine Corps veteran who was suffering from Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). To date, the program has helped over 2000 Vets deal with various challenges.
Even more remarkable is the horses in the program are rescue animals; the training they receive is unique in that it is "Natural Horsemanship," which results in "a kinder and gentler cowboy" to develop a rapport with horses. It prevents the oft-used training by abusive methods of these beautiful and majestic animals. Combined with the equine-assisted psychotherapy and learning for some of the most vulnerable among us, the program is successful due to the myriad volunteers, my granddaughter included, who seems to me to be the epitome of a value-added program. My Grandchildren are constantly showing me a path to Hope for the future. the Heart of Horse Sense website is https://www.heartofhorsesense.org/
There are many Majestic qualities that only horses possess. This article points out the many benefactors of what these beautiful animals can bestow. I am a Vet, and I especially appreciate what Shannon and her staff are doing for Vets. I have worked extensively with At-Risk youth for the past six decades, and I appreciate what Shannon is doing to help them, and our First Responders deserve all the support they can get. Taken in total, this is an extraordinary program for many. What I am most grateful for is that "HEART OF HORSE SENSE" allows my already wonderful granddaughter to be part of something bigger than herself and to witness "THE HELPERS" that Mr. Rogers' Mom was talking about.
Thank You for Caring for and about Horses.