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Horses providing therapy for military veterans in Loxahatchee

Posted at 5:30 AM, Dec 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-27 05:30:58-05

A special program in Loxahatchee is providing some of our country's heroes with the support and strength they need to recover from some tough times.

For Navy veterans Matthew Pardew and Chester, who didn’t want his last name used, being around horses is a big step.

After serving America, they fell on hard times. Matthew said he has a substance abuse problem, and according to Chester, who move to Miami from Pittsburgh, “I stayed drunk most of the time.”

Both men have found help through the Salvation Army, but it’s been a program at Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding in Loxahatchee that has helped them too.

Matthew and Chester visit weekly, and Matthew says, "I’ve had a lot of therapy hours, and these, by far, have been the most helpful."

The center’s founder, Ruth Menor, explains the program for veterans, saying, "We’ve developed from equine psychotherapy helping them deal with psychological crisis, especially PTSD." 

Chester and Matthew are no longer homeless, and credit Vinceremos for helping them conquer problems they had after leaving the military.

For Chester, it’s a lifesaver.

“It’s turned my life 180 degrees," said Chester.