Equine therapy helps veterans with PTSD

WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Veterans Freedom retreat, a non-profit program that helps veterans fight post-traumatic stress disorder, continues in Wichita Falls.

Veterans, along with their spouses arrived at the falls Sunday afternoon for a week-long retreat to learn how to handle day-to-day issues with PTSD.

Wednesday afternoon, couples got the chance to heal together with the help of some friends with hooves.

"It's been so relaxing," Scott Whitfield, OEF/ OIF combat Veteran, said. "The stress just leaves instantly and it's wonderful."

Veterans and their spouses used equine therapy to help them experience freedom from PTSD.

"Literally when you walk into that arena or you're with that horse they respond to you like he's going to respond to me," Kari Whitfield, Scott's wife said.

Scott and David Lammers, an Iraq/Bosnia Veteran, said this syndrome doesn't just affect them, but also those around them, starting with their partners.

"When you're anxious and you're emotional you've got to back away and it affects them," Lammers said.

For that reason they both said they signed up for the Veterans Freedom Retreat with their spouse, to learn how they can both overcome it.

"I'm his comfort zone so I can get him to go as long as I'm there and make him feel more comfortable and be able to take in more," Kari said.

"There isn't much out there teaching the wife's on how to deal with PTSD and they're just as stressed as we are," Lammers said.

The couples got the chance to ride the horses and even enjoy a carriage ride Wednesday morning.

If a couple needed a little motivational push, sponsor couple, Terry and Deborah Park, were there to help.

"It's all about love and support and that's what you get from here," Deborah said.

If you want to help Veterans Freedom Retreat or are a Veteran and want to sign up for the next retreat head over to their webpage.

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