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The Power Of The Team.

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We talk a lot at HorseBack about what our horses do for our veterans. But the human factor is just as vital in the healing process.


One of the things that veterans lose when they come out of the services is the potent sense of being part of a unit. The old phrase ‘band of brothers’ really means something to them. Suddenly, they are without their brothers, and their sisters too. They can feel the cold world of civilian life to be baffling and lonely. Many of them, especially those who are suffering with mental health problems and post-traumatic stress, retreat into an extreme state of isolation.


Even if they do have family and friends around them, they can still feel alone. Many of them find it hard to explain to people who weren’t there what it was like, in the death valleys of Afghanistan or the arid deserts of Iraq. They crave connection and understanding; they want, more than anything, a sense of meaning. And they have lost all those things.


When they get to HorseBack, they find their unit again. They’ve got the team here, who are completely on their side. Three of our HorseBack team members are also veterans, and that helps. They’ve got the mentors, who have all served and who know the drill. Almost every veteran we see will say something like, ‘It was such a relief to be back with people who speak my language.’ It’s almost as if they’ve been abroad, in a land where nobody knows English and all the street signs are incomprehensible. When they come through our gates, they feel as if they have come home.


We do give them a lot of team-building and trust exercises, to amplify this sense of being part of something again. We focus on that, and we watch them come together and work together and laugh together. But most of it happens organically. They are back among their people. They have a tribe again, and that makes all the difference.


Everyone needs a crew. Humans did not evolve to live in isolation. All of us, whether we have known the rigours of combat or not, need to know that there is someone who has our back, who will step up for us, who will get us. Being got sounds like such a little thing, but it is transformative. Here, those isolated veterans find a team, find a place of safety, find people who get them. They don’t have to explain anything, because everybody knows. And that is the start of their journey to recovery.

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We do not rely on government funding so any donations will greatly assist with the running of our charity.

We do not rely on government funding so any donations will greatly assist with the running of our charity.