Healing Horses to Battle War Trauma

Local horse rescuers now look to help troops.

By Derek Togerson
|  Monday, Aug 24, 2009  |  Updated 3:55 AM PDT
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Pegasus Rising

NBCSanDiego

World-Renowned Equine Clinicians Rescue Rare Horses, and now helps soldiers.

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Pegasus Rising

These horses in San Diego are remarkable not just for where they've been, but also for what they're doing now.
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A few months ago, we told you about a group of 26 malnourished Arabian horses rescued and brought to San Diego to be nursed back to health by the Pegasus Rising Project. 

Their happy story has another chapter.

"They had been used for breeding," says trainer Cynthia Royal, "and we just felt that because of their docile nature, and their natural desire to want to connect with people, they would be perfect for this type of venue."

That venue is the Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Program. It's for troops who've seen the worst of war.

"They're trying to overcome some kind of emotional trauma," Royal says.  "Being able to reconnect with people in society, or, in particular maybe their families.  They might be having difficulty with anger or aggression or fear."

The best way to deal with those feelings may be hanging out with a horse.

"The animal has a way to just disarm and reach someone that a human therapist does not," Royal says.

The program will officially begin next month and it has big aspirations.

"We're looking at , I think, being able to treat a couple thousand people a year."

For that to happen, they'll need help from private donations. If you'd like to help, just log on to www.pegasusrising.org.

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