I learned about this program from Matt Burden over at Blackfive and was immediately interested. I've tossed a few dollars their way and hope you will, too. On the sidebar at Blackfive I found:
"Heroes & Horses is open to any recent American combat veteran who loves and could benefit from the breathtaking beauty and unique demands of Montana's real ranch country and who craves the sense of accomplishment gained by mastering true horsemanship and skills in the challenging backcountry of America's majestic Rocky Mountains. A seven-day working horse ranch experience is available for a wide-range of gutsy veterans at the Mantle Ranch, offering an opportunity to learn--through intensive instruction and interaction with fellow combat veterans--how to ride, pack, and orchestrate a mountain trip, as well as a variety of related equine and back-country activities on one of the most spectacular working horse ranches in the West."
MOTHAX of the American Legion Burnpit Blog recently wrote about the program. Click on his link to get all the skinny but I'll share a bit here. Here is the mission statement for this invaluable experience:
"The experience of bringing together a group of combat veterans--each dealing with the process of returning to the normalcy of everyday life after war and each looking to communicate that process with others of the same mind--is invaluable. No classroom, no respite, no program can provide the opportunity to accomplish a goal, learn a set of skills, and challenge the mind and body like the great outdoors. No companionship is as effective as that found around a campfire at 9,000 feet, with no parameters and no guided limit or canned focus. No sense of accomplishment compares to the first time you and your horse have climbed a mountain with the confidence of competence, then looked out over the grandeur of America--the greatest country in the world--with knowledge that is yours and available always for your enjoyment and that of your friends and family. This is freedom worth fighting for. It should be capitalized upon like the spoils of war. It is a reward in itself. It should be enjoyed by our soldiers upon their return. It is uniquely theirs."
The first group of Veterans will be heading to Montana and Yellowstone in late June. I know a couple of the guys who are going. It doesn't matter a hoot that I know any of them. What matters is how excited they are about this opportunity to 1) share their experiences of war with other combat Veterans and 2) to be able to get totally away from civilization and let loose. I wish every returning Veteran could go and I hope like hell this program takes off like wildfire and is able to send continuous groups.
Go check out the site for more information here. And stop here to make a donation to help sponsor a returning Veteran for a trip and experience so well deserved. Your donation will make such a difference.