UCP Saddle Pals Heroes Astride empowers our disabled servicemen and women with the tools to recover from physical and emotional trauma. Heroes Astride is an extension of our Saddle Pals program, which works with horses to help people with disabilities develop more control over their bodies, minds and emotions and heal from trauma. This program was made possible with support from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.
Our nation’s heroes – our servicemen and women – travel the world to serve our country, yet when they become disabled, they often have trouble finding the care they need close to home. In addition to medical care, they often need additional services to help them heal.
This accredited adaptive horsemanship program enables veterans – in partnership with their families – to receive services in an environment that promotes confidence, coordination and community so they can rehabilitate and reintegrate into their community. Program participation results in growth, independence and improved quality of life for participants and their families. Unlike traditional approaches, horsemanship activities are enjoyable, and family and community members participate in the process.
Upon acceptance into the program, each rider will work with a certified PATH International registered instructor. Trained volunteer military service members will work with a certified PATH International instructor to assist during these lessons. Instructors will create individualized weekly lesson plans that help riders meet their short-term and long-range goals and overcome fears and challenges. Each person will participate in a nine-week program consisting of a one-hour riding lesson per week. Once per session, riders’ family members will be invited to a Family Fun Day at the barn to encourage communication and connection while enjoying time with the horses in a low-stress environment.