Military Veterans, PTSD and Horse Therapy

by Jocelyn Pierce

Throughout the United States’s military history, the horse served bravely alongside man. Horses continued to be important components of combat until the end of World War I when warfare changed completely. Today, horses still help military veterans, though in a different way than their equine predecessors. Equine assisted activities and therapy provide physical, cognitive, and emotional benefits to military veterans returning home from combat. Specifically, equine assisted therapies have shown to be effective in treating PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).

Caisson Horses with Soldier Old Guard

Because horses are reactive animals, they require calm signals, helping participants to recognize emotion regulation and self-control by getting immediate feedback from their equine partners. Therapeutic riding also helps with physical strength and balance, making equine therapy a well rounded and effective rehabilitation practice.

The horses of the Caisson Platoon, also known as the 3rd U.S Infantry Regiment or Old Guard, have been working as therapy horses at The Caisson Platoon Equine Assisted Program, a civilian, all volunteer program located at Fort Myer, Virginia. But the horses of the Caisson Platoon aren’t the only equines helping out. Equine assisted activities and therapy programs are becoming popular and more accessible across the United States.

Caisson Platoon Equine Assisted Program

To learn more about the new role of the Caisson Platoon Horses check out this video:

About the Author: Jocelyn Pierce is an avid equestrian and lover of travel and photography. Her passion for adventure has led her on numerous excursions throughout North America and Europe. When she’s not riding and competing her homebred mare, she enjoys hiking, camping, and snapping photographs.