Horses help veterans connect, heal

Horses help veterans connect, heal
Horses with members of the Veteran's Club.
Horses at the La Grange farm. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Horses at the La Grange farm. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LA GRANGE, KY (WAVE) - Gaining a horse's trust isn't always easy, but, of course, a relaxing brush doesn't hurt.

Sensing a genuine peace in someone is something these animals have a knack for.

"They pick that up and they want to be a part of the herd," Veteran's Club founder Jeremy Harrell said. "They want to be a part of what you're doing."

Harrell said that for some veterans returning to civilian life, finding that inner harmony can be tough.

"I just don't want guys to feel alone," Harrell said. "I know a lot of times, when you get out of service, you feel like you're kind of on an island by yourself."

So, Harrell decided to start the Veteran's Club. It allows those who've served in the military to hang out together, be themselves, and, if needed, use the healing power of horses to deal with any issues they may be facing.

"They can bring calm into a person's life," veteran Brett Trelfa, who owns the La Grange farm the group is at, said. "Just being around them, brushing them, working with them."

It turns out a lot of veterans in the Louisville area were looking for just that -- a sense of calm and camaraderie.

Harrell founded the group with a handful of members in November and now has close to 600.

It's not all about the horses. They hold other outings as well.

"Out here, what we're doing today, I mean, the horses are the bonus, but, really what we're trying to accomplish, is to say what you want to say, speak freely about whatever is going on," Harrell said.

Something he adds he hopes will help those struggling with PTSD, traumatic brain injuries or depression.

In the end, it sounds like it isn't just those Harrell invites to the farm that are healing from it's charm.

"The flip side of me helping veterans is them being out here helps me," Harrell said.

Harrell adds he wants a Veteran's Club to form in every state. He said there is one already in Florida and another one will be forming in Colorado soon.

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