Horses help heal veteran one hoof at a time

News10 visited SUNY Cobleskill as we offered our Therapeutic Horsemanship Veterans Program during Winter Session.  

The program is made possible, in part, due to funding through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Adaptive Sports Grant and donor support. SUNY Cobleskill was one of fourteen Therapeutic Horsemanship programs nationwide to receive the 2020 VA Adaptive Sports Grant. Funding will allow the program to expand Equine Assisted Services by offering additional sessions and acquiring a lift to allow Veterans in wheelchairs an opportunity to experience recreational horseback riding. 

“Our horses are easygoing and intelligent, and they want to interact with people. The horses themselves do much of the teaching when it comes to riding and handling and that, in itself, is calming,” said Carolyn Nelson, veterans program manager and Marine. “We as veterans are used to being stoic and not showing our emotions. Horses pick up on our emotions and it’s that gentle understanding that the horses show which encourages a restorative experience.”