Tim Brewer retired from the National Guard shortly after returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan. He has been struggling with PTSD ever since.
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“When you come back home, I have people saying, ‘you’re home, you’re safe,’ it’s not a light switch. You can’t turn it off and on,” he said. Brewer says Grooming and caring for horses has been one of the most effective forms of therapy he has experimented with.
“It gives you as a returning vet, another purpose,” said Brewer.
He was introduced to the unusual form of therapy through a program called Horses4Heroes and local stable, Moonlit Meadows Performance Horses.
“We became a horses for heroes’ affiliate in 2012, in essence just try to give back to the community, to our veterans. We’ve had personal experiences with PTSD,” said Mandi Mincheski, the stable owner.
Veterans that have participated in the program have likened it to interacting with a service dog. Stable owner Mandi Minchenski says that caring for the horses forces veterans to slow down and “take the time to heal.” Brewer immediately formed a relationship with a horse named Jimmy.
Brewer says he has found peace and purpose through the program. He spoke about his daily experience with Jimmy.
“[He] Kind of nudges you, nip at you, or just stand perfectly like Jimmy’s doing now, it kind of gives you peace,” he said. “I got a new job, this is my new job, and it’s rewarding.”