Thursday, April 25, 2013

Horses Helping Our Hero's.....Rainier Therapeutic Riding

Rainier Therapeutic Riding is a non-profit organization that helps wounded active-duty and veteran service members and their families by providing therapeutic horsemanship services . A few months ago Buckaroo Leather had the extreme pleasure, along with Mark Bolender of Bolender Horse Park of watching this incredible group in action. Mark has partnered with Rainier Therapeutic Riding to provide funding and awareness to this program. 

Buckaroo Leather was extremely impressed with this organization and their dedication to our deserving wounded hero's.  Buckaroo Leather encourages all who love horses and our veterans to learn more about this group and their up coming fundraiser in November.


The mission of Rainier Therapeutic Riding is to utilize equine-assisted therapy to promote healing, teamwork and fellowship dealing with post traumatic stress and other physical and emotional challenges faced by our active and retired military. The concept of using horses to provide therapy to humans is similar to the effective nature of dogs visiting shut-ins. 

As an outdoor activity, it is also similar to the athletic benefits provided to injured military by scuba diving and golf. However, one unique aspect of horse back riding makes it especially effective in dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). All horses have a behavior called hyper-reactivity, the fright and flight reaction to perceived threats. Soldiers diagnosed with PTSD have this same behavior. This means they react with great fear and anxiety to situations that are actually non-threatening. By showing the soldiers how to train horses not to be afraid of scary mud puddles in the trail (for example), they can see that fears they experience are not always justified and may be worth expending effort to overcome.

The riders move towards a goal of trail riding and horse-camping. Soldiers develop horsemanship skills and facilitate personal healing using the unique behavior traits that both horses and people with PTSD share. Using horses appropriate to their skill level, soldiers learn to train their horses to work through their hyper-reactivity. Learning to control their body language, breathing, and to become conscious of their own bodies reactions to stress earns the horses’ respect for the soldier as a leader. 


“I came into this project not knowing really what to expect. I never thought it would help me this much. I came into it still paralyzed from the knee down on my right leg walking on a cane with severe PTSD and anxiety from my deployment. And now after just the past 9 weeks of working with the horses and volunteering at the stables I am now much happier emotionally, walking without a cane and as of last week I am able to lift my leg 45 degrees backwards...” Dean Baker

Rainier Therapeutic Riding will be having their Second Annual Heroes, Horses and Hope Dinner and Auction on November 9th, 2013. Since Rainier Therapeutic is a non-profit organization, events like this help raise vital funds for the program. This is an amazing opportunity to support this group. If you are interested in donating an item for the auction or attending the event click here.

If you are also interested in volunteering or signing up as a rider please contact..... 
or Debbi Fisher at 360-259-3782

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