The Horses and Heroes team is hands-down one of the most sincere, warm, caring, and knowledgeable teams I have seen. You can tell they are passionate and undivided in their mission. I only wish they could be duplicated all over the country!
I coordinate for a group of justice-involved veterans engaging in pro-social activities and volunteerism. Horses & Heroes has an amazing staff, outstanding communication with volunteers, partners, and other stakeholders, and a genuine care for our unique population. All of our veterans have spoken highly of programming and opportunities afforded to them through this wonderful nonprofit. Our team has toured the facility and were amazed at the attention to detail and care they put into their animals and operations. Our organization has made a commitment to continue partnering with Horses & Heroes due to their professionalism and amazing skillset in restoring hope in veterans through unique animal and human interactions.
Horses & Heroes (H&H), a 501c3 organization, has been working for over seven years to provide no-cost Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) to military, first responders, and their families. Selflessly supporting military families transitioning from active duty, first responders, and those affected by trauma, the connection between H&H clients and its therapy horses – themselves rescues or donations with their own stories of struggle – has proven particularly effective in bringing people “home.”
In every challenge there is opportunity to move forward and to heal. This past year has been a challenge for everyone. In H&H’s case, within days of each other, our Clinical Director, Rachel-Willoughby Greene, lost her father and her faithful four-legged companion Oreo. Friend and colleague, Andi Burgis, owner of Challenge-U, a satellite location for Horses & Heroes, lost her battle against ovarian cancer.
Covid, real estate challenges, and an increased OPTEMPO challenged the staff and the facility. H&H chose to respond with help, hope, and happiness. The team trusted each other and their clients, exemplified understanding and support, and recognized their vulnerabilities, strengths, and ability to be flexible, responsive and resilient. The horses not only sensed that, but knew it and responded with pride.
In the context of all that, Clinical Director, Rachel, and Equine Specialist, Julie, traveled to Phoenix AZ to complete EquiLateral™ training – the Equine Assisted Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy and the integrative treatment of choice for trauma. H&H is the only program in Kansas City offering EquiLateral EMDR. The spirit of service does not stop.
H&H’s donors, generous supporters, kind strangers, advisors, staff and team of empathetic animals are eager and able to offer connection. Connection heals. Healing saves lives.
Richard M. (Rich) Curasi, Colonel, USA (Ret)
Advisor, Contributor and Occasional Staff Musician
I have been a volunteering with Horses & Heroes since 2017. Helping care for the horses they have rescued, or taken in, has been an amazing experience. I have watched the spark of life come back into the eyes of rescued horses with traumatic experiences; and witnessed those same horses share their spark with people in search of hope. The work is humbling yet fulfilling, and I am grateful for each moment I get to share with this great organization.
Working towards emotional health through horses; connecting and interacting with them as we learn to improve our mental health.
I have been impacted by this organization on so many levels and am honored to be a part of the team. All of the people I have the pleasure to work with pour tirelessly into the organization to provide equine assisted pyschotherapy to Military, First Responders and their families complimentary. I have been involved with H&H for over 2 1/2 years. I have watched the founder Julie Baker's dedication and tireless work ethic. Each person I have worked with has a servant's heart and is passionate for Military and First Responders AND horses (especially rescue horses), which is why Horses and Heroes is so very impactful. Thank you to those that have paved the way to bring this equine assisted therapy to the community. I am honored to work by your side. On a more personal level, after the loss of our son, being a part of Horses and Heroes has been a balm to my heart. Thank you!
I am very slowly working on challenges that allow me to be with other people in a more usual way after trying to manage PTSD through traditional therapies. Being with the horses is calming. I feel like a step at a time I'm meeting who I can be instead of what my life has led me to be.
My therapist does some psyche's seed planting but never forces my next move. She knows I'm already hard on myself. She is, like the other 2 leggeds at Horses & Heroes, down to earth & kind.
This is an exceptional group & a safe space to work on self or just be & both are at your pace.
My gratitude to Julie & Rachel & all the volunteers.