The Heroes and Horses’ three-phase reintegration program, which is offered to qualifying veterans at no cost, utilizes the remote wilderness of Montana, in addition to the horse/human connection, to challenge and inspire personal growth in veterans suffering from mental and physical scars.
This innovative program utilizes expedition-style horse pack trips to teach self-reliance, teamwork and perseverance. Led by experienced instructors, many of whom are combat veterans and program graduates themselves, these veterans and their pack animals travel into the wilderness on epic, life-changing journeys of self-discovery.
Heroes and Horses inspires veterans to move beyond the difficulties experienced from years of war, towards a life of restoration and hope. This unique experience challenges these individuals, invokes change, and helps them to develop new ways to approach and solve problems. By challenging what challenges them, veterans can make peace with their past and replace devastating memories with positive ones.
PHASE ONE (STRESS INOCULATION PHASE)
During the first phase of the Heroes and Horses program, participants travel to Montana where they attend the Heroes and Horses Training Camp for 5 days of instruction in horsemanship, riding, and pack training. Upon the completion of the Heroes and Horses Standard of Training, the expedition team embarks on a 7-day progressive pack trip through some of the most remote and rugged wilderness in North America. The training they receive will progress them to Phase Two.
Students will depart Heroes and Horses for a 5 day "break" at wilderness survival school (also located in Montana). There they will receive instruction from industry professionals in the art of wilderness survival. Participants will be trained in tool making, foraging skills, as well as shelter and fire building. Upon completion of the "survival break" students will walk away with the necessary foundation skills to deal with some of the toughest environmental challenges.
PHASE TWO (APPLICATION PHASE)
Phase 1 graduates of the program return to Heroes and Horses base camp to apply what they have learned, this time in the Beartooth Mountains. Phase 2 begins with advanced horsemanship, comprehensive pack training, wilderness first aid, driving trucks and trailers, basic farrier work, equine medicine, loping, ranch work, and working with chainsaws. The expedition team departs to the Beartooth Mountains for 10 days of high-altitude travel to remote lakes, which provides them with a chance to practice their acquired survival skills while working in small teams. During the last two days veterans are separated into groups of two, and they spend two days alone making their way back to base camp.
PHASE THREE (INTEGRATION PHASE)
In Phase 3 participants have the opportunity to take the skills that they have acquired through the completion of Phases 1 and 2 of the program, and work with either a wilderness outfitter as a hand, learning horsemanship, or working cattle on a ranch in Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, or Utah.
Our team building activities are an ongoing part of this 3-phase program, and play an integral part in the development and evolution of our students. Our veterans not only share their stories, but also the day-to-day challenges that they experience trying to work through "regular life" tasks. Support from our team helps build trust amongst the group, and develops a cohesive, functioning unit.
Our leadership development enhances the quality of the individual within our teams. We focus on skills and training that will enable the veteran to better learn how to influence, communicate, make better decisions and help build their moral courage.
Many of our veteran's wounds run very deep, resulting from their personal or professional life experiences. Our goal is help them realize that what they are looking for they already have. This process allows them to embrace those experiences, allowing them to become building blocks of growth in their lives.
Our desire is to empower the veteran to grow forward. No longer letting life happen to them but for them.