Unique therapy utilizing horses to battle trauma for service members, first responders

New Bern

NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — Eastern North Carolina is home to a variety of service members. Now, one businesses out of New Bern wants to make sure these groups are being properly taken care of.

It’s called Valor Horses for Heroes and it is an equine-based therapy meant to help veterans, first responders, victims of sexual assault and more get through some of their traumas. Now, their team down in New Bern is looking to make a difference for these groups one horse at a time.

“It shows myself as a therapist certain things the client may need to process if they haven’t been able to yet, that may not come out in a traditional therapy setting,” said Kenneth Palmer, a certified Equine Assisted Therapist and practice Founder.

Kenneth Palmer and Casey Bennington run the practice. The two utilize horses in their sessions as a way to let people open up in a less traditional setting.

“They often know what people need before they do and sometimes even more than a lot of times, other people,” said Palmer.

“They’ve been a huge part of our lives so being able to see them change other people’s lives and help them grow and heal and change is very very powerful,” said Casey Bennington a Certified Equine Specialist.

They explain how these horses are prey animals. So, despite their large size, they are actually more on the shy side.

“They are prey animals, so they are extremely perceptive everyday all day they think about ‘how am I going to survive’ so that makes them ideal to read people,” said Palmer.

Palmer explains that he wants veterans and other service members to know that getting that needed help is okay.

“There is that fear of being looked at like there’s something wrong or you’re broken or you may not be able to do your job because of what you’re dealing with,” said Palmer.

Both saying these horses have been instrumental in their own healing, so they are excited to see them work with others.

“Horses for myself, just like Ken said, were a really huge part of my healing process and my journey growing up becoming who I am, recovering from life’s normal traumas and the traumas that we don’t want anyone to be exposed to as well,” said Bennington.

Now the therapy is ground based so I am told no riding experience is required.

Click here if you want to learn more about the practice and help contribute to the team.

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