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With Horses’ Help, Army Veteran Finds Healing In Yellowstone | National Geographic

I served in the US Army for 11 years I was in 10th Special Forces Group did all my time at deployments to Afghanistan diagnosed PTSD pretty bad anxiety and for a long time eight nine months I didn’t want to leave the house at all I went on a horse packing trip with an outfit called heroes and horses last year and they take combat veterans to the mountains and I went on that trip and all a sudden I found purpose and it fundamentally changed my life I’m trying to get to Manhattan Montana and when I get there I’m going to donate all my tack and all my ponies to heroes and horses so I believe this program is amazing and it’s going to help a lot of veterans a friend of mine that I worked with in the backcountry he was also a veteran committed suicide about a month ago so when I heard that Ray was riding 1,000 miles from Colorado to Montana along the Continental Divide seek healing through horses and wilderness I asked to come along I myself have completed two similar long distance rides and feel a bond with Ray it’s got the Yellowstone yeah that’s pretty cool it’s so freakin cool then hats off to that buffalo for standing his ground I’ve been carrying this rod-and-reel around since Colorado we haven’t caught one fish yet yeah this is sent to the third typically bad luck sketch fish on the first cast nice your spot holy crap there you are yeah here we go now we’re talking Yellowstone cutthroat trout catching up break oh hi Smith one I got a lighter nice dollars probably the fastest I’ve ever seen 15 Michigan that was pretty good part of the reason why I did this trip is for my buddy Clint who just passed away two weeks ago now I wasn’t able to go to his funeral and I thought you know this is the perfect way to come out and honor our friendship and you good times I think so too so it’s a Clint it’s all the guys that took their lives for reasons that we never understand the mules are just amazing critters they give you lots of love and affection a lot more than I Mara does this is the first time I’ve been able to come up to him he’s been laying down without him standing up this is so cool I tried in the other mule hey buddy hey boy these ponies they absolutely trust me now they agree and that makes me feel really good these ponies have an amazing ability once you gain their trust they care for you they believe in you and they look for you for leadership when someone’s looking for you for leadership you can’t fail them and that’s an amazing thing you stop worrying about yourself I haven’t learned anything new about myself on this trip I just found things that I had once lost it’s really easy to get in a pattern of self defeat and I think that’s where I was at and this challenge made me realize that there was nothing wrong with me you
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