Boy Scouts roll up sleeves to help equine therapy for military veterans

  • Volunteer Boy Scouts have worked together to transform fields at a ranch that helps armed forces veterans, first responders and rescued horses.

    The 140 youngsters travelled from 24 Scout troops across Suffolk, US, to the Warrior Ranch to prepare it for spring and summer horse therapy sessions.

    The Scouts cleared sticks and twigs left over from invasive brush on three and a half acres of the six-acre property to prepare the land for future use as an outdoor arena, round pen and obstacle course for the horses. They also removed nails from donated fence posts that will be erected at the ranch.

    Credit: Warrior Ranch

    The not-for-profit organisation was established in 2016 and invites military veterans and first responders to attend clinics where they learn from experts how to work with horses.

    All levels from beginner to advanced can be catered for, engaging in non-riding activities and groundwork with the horses to develop bonds, give guidance, demonstrate leadership, and help horses overcome certain fears.

    While some of the horses at Warrior Ranch are long-term residents, most of them are “troubled” horses who are being rehabilitated, retired racehorses or rescues being prepared for new homes.

    Warrior Ranch Foundation president Eileen Shanahan said the organisation was “extremely grateful” for the help.

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    “Not only did our future leaders take on the laborious tasks, they did it with enthusiasm,” she said. “This is a tremendous help in our spring clean-up!”

    Jimmy Elder, scout master of troop 204 in Miller Place, said that US military veterans were “probably our most important national treasure” and that they were “showing our scouts that today is all about community”.

    Kim Russell, district executive, Suffolk County Council, Boy Scouts of America, added: “What’s happening here today is amazing because of the turnout and the enthusiasm. We’re super grateful for our Scouts.”

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