Horses and Heroes
The planes and ships brought me back, but my soul was left behind.
No words could cure.
No arms could comfort.
No loved one could help me heal.
Who I was had splintered away.
I was a memory almost forgotten.
I walked from hell looking home, but I couldn't find the way.
No way back.
No way forward.
I was lost in the land of despair.
They wanted me to be who I was.
That person didn't live anymore
Across the field not far away, stood one who saw my wounds.
She did not speak.
She needed no words.
Yet she comforted my wounded soul.
She helped me see past the fear and the pain.
I found the path that led me home.
It has been known by many names. During the Civil War, it was called “Soldier's Heart”. During World War II they called it "Shell Shock". It has also been called "Combat Fatigue". The current label is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PSTD.
In the past, it was down played. Sufferers were told to man up. They were medicated, but instead of healing the medication turned them into zombies. Many have tried Talk Therapy. Results were limited Most military personnel thought that only one who had lived through the experience could possibly understand the emotional and physically toil of war. Buddy therapy is an effective, but it is also limited by the number of veterans available.
Animal Assisted Therapy has been extremely effective for those who are physical and emotional challenged. It has become more widely used in cases of PTSD, especially in cases of veterans. Although almost any animal can be a healer, dogs and horses are the ones most commonly partnered with veterans. Dogs have the advantage of being accepted in both cities and rural areas. However, horses are known to better reflect the mood of the person handling them. This ability is helpful for the PSTD patient to learn how to recognize their own feelings. In this way, they learn how to retrain their mind and body reacts to stressers.
A semi-scripted documentary Horses and Heroes has hired a personable host, who has a diverse military background as well as experience working with horses. She will be chatting with the staff of Charity Hills Ranch and with some of the veterans as they share their personal stories.
Barbara (Bobby) Kilgore enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1980. Serving 6 years she received her Honorable discharge in 1985. She attended Brevard Community College graduating in 1989 with her Associate of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice. She attended the University of Central Florida graduating in 1991 with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice. She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and Golden Key Honor Society
Bobby Kilgore enlisted in the United States Army in 1995. Her assignments include Appropriated
Funds Clerk Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, Battalion Chaplain Assistant 1/6 Calvary Camp
Eagle, Korea, Chapel Non Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) and Non Appropriated Funds
Clerk Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn, New York, Chapel NCOIC Argonne Hills Chapel Fort Meade
Maryland, Chapel NCOIC Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Brigade Chaplain Assistant NCOIC, 10th
Combat Aviation Brigade Fort Drum New York, and is Battalion Chaplain Assistant 63D OD
Battalion (EOD) Fort Drum New York. She has deployed in support of OEF VII and OIF VII.
SSG Kilgore’s Last assignment: 75th Field Artillery Brigade Chaplain Assistant NCOIC, and NCOIC.Main Post Chapel Fort Sill Oklahoma. Bobby Kilgore retired from the United States Army 31 October 2011
Her Awards include 5 Army Commendation Medals,4 Army Achievement Medals, National Defense Service Medal Bronze Device, Korea Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal C, Iraq Campaign Medal CS, Military outstanding Volunteer Service Medal and the NATO Medal. Bobby Kilgore has been requested on numerous occasions by high ranking officers to be the narrator for Change of Command Ceremonies and Welcome Home Ceremonies’ for units returning from overseas. She has been a cantor for chapel services and has sung in the Bagram Afghanistan Chapel’s Barbershop choral. She played th e piano and organ for the 10th Mountain Division Chaplain’s Change of Stole Ceremony in 2009.
Charity Hill Ranch
Founded in 2001, Charity Hill Ranch specializes in Traumatic Brain injury and Rehabilitation utilizing all the assets a farm and horse have to offer. Christine O'Connell is a PATH International Certified Instructor of 10 Years, and specializes in TBI as well as a Certified Brain Injury Specialist. Sarah Wilson is a Mental Health Specialist with Degree in Psychology and Education. She offers Tutoring and program planning at the ranch.
The horses utilized in the programs on the ranch are mostly retired show horses with skills and training that surpass your average horse, and have hearts the size of Texas!
Mid-Michigan Equestrian Center, Inc, which is located at Charity Hill Ranch, is a non-profit 501(c) (3) corporation which believes that riding and caring for horses profoundly affects the lives of people with disabilities and enables them to live a more fulfilling and complete life. Their mission is to provide programs and services where “Love in Action” enables individual growth and achievement for people who have special needs, through an extraordinary partnership with horses and staff. Carefully trained and certified Instructors work with clients to take advantage of every healing minute at the Ranch. At-risk children develop healthy trust and relationships. Those with disabilities learn responsibility, develop communication skills and use this therapy as a way to create life-long passions.
Charity Hill Ranch is a proud Member of Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International. It is also e a member of Horses for Heroes Inc. Based in Las Vegas and founded in 2006, their mission is to make horseback riding affordable for, and accessible to, active duty servicemen and women, veterans, First Responders, and their families.
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Courage isn't the lack of fear, but the ability to set it aside and focus on what is truly important