• Mid-South veterans are turning to horses for healing

    By: Darcy Thomas


    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Southern Reins Equine Therapy in Collierville is working to teach our veterans how to cope.

    It's a secret that's often deafening and debilitating, vets come back home, often never the same.
    Vietnam Vet Paul Cleaver spent three years in the Army.

    "I noticed the world was different when I came back home everything was totally different," said Cleaver.  

    He told FOX13 he handled the change, the same way may vets do, "A lot of us took to drinking and that's what I'm in now I’m in a recovery program."

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    Cleaver said through a local veteran’s service, he along with other vets are participating in a program where sometimes no words are exchanged.

    "A horse responds, and animal responds in different ways, a human talks back they don't argue with you, you in control," said Cleaver.

    Jill Haag said, "Horses are non-judgmental, they don't come in with anything other than wanting to please you."

    Southern Reins Equine Therapy's Executive Director Jill Haag says horses can help our veterans learn to cope with mental, emotional or physical traumas.

    "The horses are so intuitive that they really are able to alleviate a lot of those pressures and stresses that they have," Haag said.

    Cleaver says, "I kind of picked up that the horse knows what I am thinking I can feel that the horse knows me and pays attention."

    He says his fellow vets are embracing the calm, intuitive energy of a horse and in turn learning to heal inside and out.

    Cleaver said, "You got my hairs standing now there's a lot to it it's contentment, very content it makes you feel like you're belonging. The horse makes you feel that way."

    Southern Reins offers free therapy sessions to vets.

    Their hosting an event called Jockey's and Julep's which benefits their veterans and disabled children’s programs.

    The event is on May 5th, at the new location at 916 Billy Bryant Rd in Collierville from 3pm-7pm.

    For tickets and more information, log onto southernreins.org

    FOX13's Family Focus airs every Friday at 5pm. 

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