By Nancy Aziz
A Rancho Santa Fe non-profit that helps horses and veterans is now in need of help itself.
Pegasus Rising has been providing equine assisted therapy to veterans suffering from PTSD and their families for the past six years. It’s been operating on donated land, but now the property is in foreclosure and the program has ten days to move.
“Our horses need a home and if we dont have a home we cant run our programs,” said Pegasus Rising CEO Gary Adler.
The program pairs horses that have been rescued from abuse and neglect with veterans having trouble re-integrating into society. Adler says it helps both heal.
“Teaching the vets how to be aware of their body language and social skills, how to interact. They learn by working with the horses how to communicate and how to effectively convey how they are feeling,” he said.
Vietnam Veteran Willie Baumann was one of the first through the program. He says he used to avoid people but even after his first session people noticed the difference. He says it helped him learn how to connect with people by first connecting with a horse named Belle.
“They talk about miracles happening, well this is my miracle,” he said.
He says it would be a shame to see the program go.
“It’s the same effect when I see a veteran standing on a street corner, that all of a sudden his world fell out from undererneath him and he is standing on the streetcorner homeless, in need of help. These horses can’t speak for themselves, but I can speak for them and it’s a very worthwhile project,” said Baumann.
Adler says the program needs about an acre to an acre and a half of land, with horse facilities already in place, preferably in the Rancho Santa Fe area so the facility is centrally located for veterans who come from all over the county.
If you can help, call Gary Adler at (310) 699-4758 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.