SpiritHorse Chisholm Trail Riding Center will be welcoming soldiers from Fort Sill in Lawton to an open house Saturday afternoon as part of program that will have the soldiers participating in horse riding therapy.
Jan Smith, owner of SpiritHorse, said that the open house is not only open to the soldiers but anyone interested in attending and learning about the facility.
“We want to familiarize the soldiers with the type of therapy we will be doing with them,” Smith said. “They can relax in this setting and be able to participate in a number of activities like our recreational therapy program.”
Smith is estimating about 110 soldiers will be participating in this program that will have the soldiers traveling from Fort Still two days a week and has big hopes for the program.
“I just hope we can honor the soldiers as much as anything, physically and mentally and to build a program that the soldiers can look forward to attending,” Smith said. “It’s a way to give back to the soldiers, they deserve that.”
The idea for the program was hatched in Smith’s mind back in Oct. of 2010 when she made a television appearance regarding the horse therapy program she was running on Fridays for children.
“I was asked to how I wanted to build the program and I had been looking into a horse therapy program at Fort Hood in Texas and started researching how we could help in that fashion here,” Smith said.
The open house will have a catered lunch with barbecue and live music along with a demonstration for the public and the soldiers attending.
“We will just do a kind of meet and great, some of the soldiers don’t know each other, and we want to try and build a bond between the injured soldiers and veterans,” Smith said.
Smith said that several soldiers have already visit on their own time and told her that they have not felt that relaxed for more than two years.
“Some have suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and we will be working with a pain management doctor and a psychologist to establish a program that will them recover in a relaxing setting,” Smith said.