Horses help bring healing to wounded veterans

    LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) -- A program in Las Vegas is helping veterans cope by using horses to reach troubled souls. The horses help wounded warriors heal their invisible wounds.

    When Michael Hage returned home from war, he struggled with the chaos of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He battled sleeplessness, hyper-vigilance and isolation. He came to Spirit Therapies to find peace.

    "I've come here many times with anxiety attacks and this one especially knows how to put me at ease, don't ya?" said Hage.

    Michael Hage is talking about his horse Dewey.

    "People sometimes don't listen. Horses listen and help him cope with whatever he's dealing with," said Laurie Willmott.

    Laurie Willmott runs the Horses Healing Heroes program at Spirit Therapies.

    "If you give them a lot of love, they will become your best friend," she continued.

    The therapy is designed to serve both active duty military personnel and veterans who have been diagnosed with physical and mental challenges.

    People who take part in the program are often veterans who have been diagnosed with PTSD or Traumatic Brain Injury.

    "When they can get that 1,200 pound horse to do what they're asking, they feel accomplished," she continued.

    Hage has to be calm and control his emotions for Dewey to trust and accept him. Dewey's mood often mirrors Hage's mood.

    Dewey was broken once too. The one-time world champion barrel race was destined for the slaughterhouse.

    Dewey is now destined to help veterans like Hage, heal back at home.

    To learn more about Horses Healing Heroes and Spirit Therapies, click this link.

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