Equine therapy for PTSD

Roamy here. My husband and two kids enjoy horseback riding. I do, too, it’s just that I don’t indulge as much due to allergies and the feeling, as Dave Barry once wrote, that they are very large animals with unnecessarily hard feet.

There are a lot of benefits to riding a horse, not just the physical demands of muscle, balance, and coordination, but also building up communication skills and self-confidence. Horses for therapy is not a new idea, but it is spreading to a wider audience as a help for disabled patients, autistic children, and now, soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Blackfive tips us to the Operation Silver Spurs and the following Fox interview. The horses and human volunteers of the Caisson Platoon of the Old Guard provide equine-assisted therapy for the Wounded Warriors in treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

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Wounded Warriors Heal with Help of Iconic Animals: MyFoxDC.com

At a rider’s side, members of the Old Guard. These are the same horses that pull the caisson at Arlington National Cemetery.
“If these horses weren’t out here carrying their wounded comrades on their backs, they’d be pulling the caisson carrying one of their fallen comrades to their final resting place,” says Larry Pence, a retired Command Sgt. Major in the Army.
The program’s been in place since 2006 and so far they’ve had about 125 wounded warriors out riding.

Glad our four-legged friends and these great volunteers can help with recovery and healing.

This strikes me as an utterly stupid idea.

From The Stars and Stripes, via Military.com:

Under a law recently pushed through the state legislature, post-traumatic stress disorder would be noted on the license in the same way that a person’s license might indicate corrective lenses are required for vision, according to a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Adding the information would be voluntary and require a sworn statement from a doctor. If signed by the governor, the bill would become law on July 1.

Why do I suspect this is really the first step towards the mandatory disclosure of a PTSD diagnosis, and a further stigmatization of our troops. It doesn’t take a great leap of imagination to see a “logical progression” where citizens who have been diagnosed with PTSD would be prohibited from buying or possessing firearms.

I’m in favor of prohibiting the mentally unsound from possessing firearms. That’s a restriction of civil rights that falls well within the bounds of constitutionality. But the current standard that has to be met is that a court has to make a finding. That’s the whole “due process” thingy at work.

If, as I suspect, this is a ploy to sneak in a restrictive provision over time, it would remove that due process protection for citizens and place the power to infringe constitutional rights into the hands of unaccountable bureaucrats, with likely little recourse to the citizen.

It also shows a remarkable misunderstanding of what most people with PTSD really go through. I’m no expert, but the best description I’ve heard is that you spend a lot of time hyper-aware of your surroundings, as if your nerve endings had been sanded.

Any of you in Georgia might take a moment to encourage your governor to veto this bill, and not start down a path with no good outcomes.