Since 2007, BraveHearts has been nationally recognized for providing equine-assisted services to veterans from the northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin areas. BraveHearts has the largest equine-based program in the nation for military veterans comprised of riding, ground activities, carriage driving and gentling wild mustangs. All services are offered at no cost to the veteran and one member of his/her family/caregiver. Services are provided through individual and group lessons. BraveHearts partners with local VAs to provide innovative, recreational services using horses.
Equine services provide emotional, cognitive, social and physical benefits for veterans. Veterans at BraveHearts have reported benefits including: increased self-esteem, self-worth, trust for others and community integration and decreased depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder attacks and self-inflicting thoughts.
Lessons operate in 5-7-week session blocks, allowing veterans to build on skills learned in previous weeks. Veterans are invited to participate in lessons up to two times weekly, at no cost. As veterans increase their horsemanship and involvement with BraveHearts additional opportunities including clinics with world-renowned horsemen. Trail rides, drill teams, retreats, foundation horsemanship, horse shows and even opportunities to become certified instructors, are available for veterans to participate in as well.