Rehabilitating Veterans with the Wilderness and Horses

In our last blog post, we discussed the good work Greenville’s Equine Services for Heroes is doing with veterans, but that good work is not limited to just them. Similar groups are operating all over the country, helping to rehabilitate veterans using horses and facilitating positive relationships between the two.

One such group is Heroes and Horses based in Manhattan, which helps veterans move forward with trips into the wilderness – certainly a very American way to rehabilitate, as the idea of the wilderness has been around since explorers first set foot in this great land. In this case, the wilderness is Montana’s backcountry.

As reported in this article courtesy of, Heroes and Horses takes their mission very seriously and works tirelessly to help improve the lives of veterans. Regarding the group’s mission, Mitch Fink, the executive director, says, “Combat changes you. I know first hand. But that’s okay, you need to accept who that new person is and figure out what forward looks like in your life.” Going forward often means venturing into the unknown, the untamed, and what better representation of that than the wilderness?

The rehabilitation process involves three phases. Phase one is ten days spent in the backcountry learning horsemanship and other skills, such as building a fire. During phase two, veterans leave alone, away from the trainers, and explore Beartooth Mountain Range. In other words, alone with the wilderness. Phase three deals with a different kind of wilderness: the workforce. The goal, according to Fink, is for the veterans to come out of the wilderness by themselves, almost at one with themselves.

So far, the process has been successful and 32 veterans will be participating this year. At Deer Creek Structures, we would like to thank groups like Heroes and Horses for all their hard work.