Veterans Find Help From Horses

Veterans find help through horses

Several different cultures around the world have depended on horses for thousands of years. Horses have been used for battle, to gather food or simply riding for fun but at the refuge services, they use horses as one of the many therapeutic tools for veterans who suffer from trauma or post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Started in 1999, the Refuge Services hosted a Veterans family night as a way to give back to the vets.

“Refuge Services is a non-profit organization here in Lubbock and we serve clients with disabilities as well as mental health issues,” Mandrell, director of Refuge Services said.

The Refuge Services also have a special veterans program which is available to vets at no cost to help them transition back to civilian life.

As a child of a veteran herself, Mandrill said she saw the need of assistance for veterans in Lubbock so she utilized the resources she had in front of her.

“As the need of assistance continue to grow,” Mandrel said, “I saw that the system was not able to accommodate the demand as we had so many soldiers coming back so I began to think about the resources and the benefits that we have right in front of us with the horses and using horses for therapy.”

One of the major ways the horses help the Veterans is through the relief of trauma, she said.

“When you look at post-traumatic stress symptoms, the horses are a natural tool to address all of that.” Mandrell said.

Mandrell recalled an instant where she had a student intern who was also a veteran.

“What I noticed in his time with us was how he grew personally even as he was giving to others.” She said, “He was able to articulate what was happening within him when he was around the horses.”

As a counselor, Mandrell started doing research while exploring the programs available through horses.

A lot of the times, Mandrell said Veterans have really high anxiety while their minds are racing and calming down seems impossible due to their previous experience.

That is where the horses come in.

Research shows that the arrhythmic movement in a horse helps with anxiety. It will slow the body down while helping the brain heal from trauma.

Because the brain operates in rhythm, she said that any type of trauma can knock it out of it’s rhythm.

“While riding a horse, the slow rhythm of the horse helps the brain slowdown while assisting in restoring rhythm.” She said.

Former air force firefighter, Nancy clemmy is now considered a disabled veteran after serving in the military for 4 years.

“I came out with a series of back injuries as well as shoulder injury which have gotten worse over the years.” Clemmy said. “My hearing was also impaired.”

One of the things we are really trying to get the public to understand, Clemmy said, is that a disability is not always something that you can see. It is not always a missing limb especially with the veterans coming back from combat.

Disability is not always visible.

While veterans are not good in asking for help because they are supposed to the helpers, Clemmy said her mission is to destigmatize the notion that vets do not need help just because they are not asking for help.

When she heard of the program, Clemmy said she knew she wanted to join because of her love for horses.

Little did she know she would learn a lot about herself, she said.

“The horses are the therapy.” Clemmy said. “Whether you are one of the client or the counselor, they have taught me about myself when I was out there learning.”


The Institute of Creative Learners host a reading fair

The institute of creative learners hosted a reading fair where mini dyslexia screening was done. About 15 to 20% of the U.S population has a specific reading disability called dyslexia, a major cause of reading failure in school.Research shows that dyslexia happens because of subtle problems in information processing, especially in the language regions of the brain. For this reason, reading doesn’t become automatic and remains slow and labored.

Muslim Living In America

The Muslim culture has been under scrutiny for many years. But more intense in the recent years after several terrorist attacks in the United States.

Many people are afraid of the religion itself as they believe their primary message to the world involves acts of mass violence enacted against innocent people who are not one of their own.

Faith and Joshua Mbaye, a Muslim married couple from Senegal who migrated to the States in 2007 in search of the American dream.

Just like every other American couple, they enjoy drinking coffee, watching sports on Sundays and most of all, playing with their now 8-months old baby girl Jara.

“What people don’t know is that we are just like everyone else. My husband and I enjoy spending time with each other and the baby,” Mbaye said. “We love going shopping, going to the park and talking about the future for Jara.”

While they enjoy the American culture, they also embrace theirs.


Joshua watches a football game on his phone while waiting on coffee.


“My husband and I love coffee, we brew it every night.” Mbaye said.


“I use youtube for everything, especially cooking” Mbaye said.


Faith and Joshua enjoying their evening coffee time while talking about the upcoming week.


The couple enjoys playing with Jara, their 8-month old daughter.


Joshua used to play basketball overseas so he has always been into sports. Part of his Sunday routine involves watching sports with his family.


In Senegal, one of the many ways children are put to sleep are on their mothers back. Faith put her daughter on her back while walking around the house in efforts for her to fall asleep.


Muslims pray 5 times a day. The baby went to bed while the parents did their last prayer of the day.


“In every religion or culture, there is good and bad.” Mbaye said, “we choose to be good.”


“O ye people, adore the Guardian-Lord” the passage said, so you can obtain righteousness.