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As America Celebrates Independence Day, NARHA's Horses For Heroes Gallops Forward

NARHA CONTINUES TO GAIN STRONG SUPPORT WITHIN VETERANS ADMINISTRATION

DENVER, June 29, 2007 – NARHA (North American Riding for the Handicapped Association), is continuing to share information and work directly with the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) on the NARHA Horses for Heroes program. NARHA Horses for Heroes provides Equine Assisted Activities (EAA) and Therapies to returning military and veterans across the United States. For individuals with special needs, EAA has shown to improve muscle tone, balance, posture, coordination, motor development, as well as emotional well-being.

After a meeting at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in Washington, D.C. in March 2007, several members of the NARHA Horses for Heroes task force have been involved with national conference calls with the VA and provided information to the Voluntary Services, the Blind Rehabilitation Services and Recreation Therapy Services groups. Each presentation has received positive responses and a pledge for continued support to grow the program. These service groups are divisions of the VA and provide assistance to veterans across the United States.

“This has been an incredible opportunity and honor for NARHA to be working with the Veterans Administration and its service areas to provide Equine Assisted Activities (EAA) to the wounded military returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan and to the many other veterans who can greatly benefit from the various programs all NARHA Member Centers provide,” said Sheila Kemper Dietrich, NARHA’s Chief Executive Officer. “It is a great partnership that we are building with much more good to come in the future.”

Publicity for NARHA Horses for Heroes task force, postings on the internet, articles in newspapers and magazines, television coverage, and emails have generated interest from around the United States and the world. Numerous NARHA centers have asked how to start programs working with wounded service personnel and veterans. Service personnel deployed to Iraq and active duty military in the USA have sent emails. Veterans want to know how to become involved.

Some NARHA centers that are currently offering NARHA Horses for Heroes services or are planning to start programs with veterans are the following: Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center, Chagrin Falls, Ohio, BraveHearts Therapeutic Riding & Educational Center, Harvard, Illinois, Atlantic Riding Center for the Handicapped, Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, Windrush Farm Therapeutic Equitation, Inc., Boxford, Massachusetts, and Marion Therapeutic Riding Association, Ocala, Florida. Therapeutic Riding of Tucson, Arizona has an established program working with the local Veterans Affairs. Many more centers are interested in and perhaps are currently providing services to wounded service personnel and veterans.

For more information about NARHA Horses for Heroes, including program guidelines, fact sheet, program contact information, printed articles and photo gallery, please visit the NARHA website at http://www.narha.org and click on the NARHA Horses for Heroes link.

About NARHA:

The North American Riding for the Handicapped Association was formed in 1969 to promote equine assisted activities for individuals with disabilities. With over 700 member centers, a total of 38,600 children and adults find a sense of independence through involvement with horses. These member centers range from small, one-person programs to large operations with several certified instructors and licensed therapists. In addition to therapeutic horseback riding, a center may offer any number of equine assisted activities including hippotherapy, equine facilitated mental health, driving, vaulting, trail riding, competition, ground work, or stable management. Through a wide variety of educational resources, the association helps individuals start and maintain successful equine assisted activities programs for individuals with special needs. There are more than 29,000 volunteers, 3,200 instructors, 5,800 therapy horses, and thousands of contributors from all over the world making a difference in people’s lives at NARHA centers.

 

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