I know Veteran’s Day was a week ago. And I apologize, for not having written a column for Veteran’s Day. Life has been a bit hectic and I had an event that I wanted to attended before I wrote my column.
The use of war horses goes back about 5,000 years, in human, not horse years. Originally I don’t believe they were ridden, instead being used more as pack animals and later pulling wagons and chariots. As equine technology improved, saddles and stirrups came along and the horseback rider made a difference in battles. Different breeds of horses were used for different tasks, owing to their difference in sizes and temperaments. While a Friesian makes a fine mount for a knight, it’s not going to work so well for the cavalry scout.
These horses have fought alongside and died alongside their people for thousands of years. One of the most well known is Sgt. Reckless. She was a member of the USMC, she EARNED the rank of Sargent, believe me. Take a minute and read about her. She was amazing, and came from very humble beginnings.
So why am I writing about horses for Veteran’s Day? Because there is a new organization called Warhorses for Veterans. Their goal is to help Veterans that have returned home and find being home not quite as familiar and comfortable as it should be. Not as easy to return as it should be. It’s not always easy to talk through stuff with people that have no understanding (no matter how much they try) of what you’ve been through.
Warhorses was founded by a young man after he came back from Iraq around 2004 he returned to his equine oriented life. He found that it gave a sense of peace and calming and began to wonder about the possibilities of it helping other veterans. With the help of a wonderful couple Warhorses for Veterans was founded.
My view, and my view alone here. No matter how people may feel about the wars America has been engaged in, the “limited actions”, “police actions” or whatever else they may be called, one thing remains the same. Our soldiers have suited up, showed up, given their best and sometimes their all. They have left behind their families, their homes and their jobs to do what was put in front of them. I guess all of us know when we get on the highway to go some place we may not come back. But that is not the same as waking up of a morning drinking a cup of coffee and getting in a tank to go out on the battlefield. That camaraderie that develops in battle is part of what helps in the Warhorses program.
More than once on American soil as well as other countries soldiers are what stood between civilians and a threat. I’m very aware and appreciative of the liberties I still enjoy because of their sacrifices.
This last Sunday Warhorses hosted a 5K run/walk. Their goal is to raise money to help the program, which if you didn’t read the link, is briefly, to give Veterans a rural place where they can talk with each other, network and experience the healing that horses bring. No singing Kum Ba Yah. There is no expense to the Veteran. This is not a government program, this is good people seeing a need and stepping up to help.
I signed on.
It was a cool/cold day and a bit more of a hilly course than most of my walks, but I didn’t care. I had told a co-worker of mine on Wednesday night about the program and that I was signed up. He is a Viet Nam veteran, and not given to warm fuzzys, but is kind. He listened and said “They are doing good work, and you are doing a good thing”. From him? That’s a lot. I held on to that as I dug in and powered up those hills. It was windy and “right nippy” as we say around these parts. I didn’t care. I did my best and completed the most challenging course in my best time ever.
I had a chance to meet one of the founders after the race and told him what my co-worker had said, and who he was. He seemed pleased, and glad to know it was being well received. I’m also glad I was wearing my very fetching berry colored TZP zippy hoodie.
I fully realize walking in a 5K is pitiful small thanks to our Veterans, both staff of TZP and our members, but it’s what I could do, and I wanted so much to find a way, to try in some way, to give back for what I have so generously been given by ya’ll.
Thank you Veterans and their families who have given so much. Ya’ll are my heroes and I thank you from the bottom of my heart and feet.
You’ll have to click on the picture about to understand why it’s there 😉