There’s a place in New York near Saratoga Springs Racetrack that works miracles with warriors from the race track and our nation’s warriors. It’s called Saratoga War Horse, and it’s a sanctuary.
Veterans can come here to find healing and renew their sense of self-worth. Elizabeth Torres, pictured below, says after her time in the armed services, she became “reclusive, introverted, isolated.”
But after working with Whiskey, one of the retired racehorses in the program, she said she doesn't feel as empty as she did before.
“There’s some good left in here,” she says. “There really is!” She believes Whiskey gave back some of what was taken from her.
The founder of Saratoga War Horse is Bob Nevins, himself a veteran. He knows that, as Ronald Reagan was fond of saying, there is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. "There's a lot of pain that these veterans have to find a way to let go of, and this seems to be a very effective method,” he says.
"The horse responds to that with a tremendous relief, 'oh somebody understands me.' And that's what the veteran is actually saying at the same time, 'oh someone understands me finally,'" notes Nevins. "The transformation that takes place, you realize you may have just saved someone's life."
Captain C.J. Sealey is another veteran who's found healing at Saratoga War Horse. “I deal with sleep issues and nightmares,” he says. But he's found an antidote in a different kind of mare.
He tells people, "Whatever emotions I had, whatever I was feeling, at that time inside the ring, I was able to leave it there. I passed through the gate and I felt that I didn't have to carry it anymore."
Nevins may not know how it works, but he is adamant that it does. And if you watch this empowering video below, you’ll be convinced too.