ODESSA, Fla. - Most know about the power that animals can have in healing. That's why dogs are often used in therapy. But other animals, like horses, are useful, too.
A horse farm in Odessa uses horses to help veterans from across the country deal with the wounds of PTSD and other trauma.
Recently Quantum Leap Farm hosted several women veterans for a five-day program called Warrior Mission: At EASE. The "ease" in the title stands for Equine-Assisted Self-Exploration. The horses are used to help the veterans deal with post traumatic stress, mild traumatic brain injury, chronic pain and sexual trauma.
"They don't judge us by what's happened to us, the trauma," said Jenna Miller, director of programs at Quantum Leap Farm. "They just accept us as a human being. We all need to be seen and heard and the horses offer that to our veterans."
Navy veteran Nicole Wyman of Maine felt an immediate connection with the horses.
"There's something about when you get with a horse," said Wyman. "You bond with that horse and they know what you're feeling because they fell it, too. You know they're going through something or they're feeling what you're going through and when they feel comfortable, they come to you. They just come to you."
During the program, each woman could be seen carrying around a heavy bucket as they were leading their horse through an obstacle course.
"What they were doing was filling up the bucket according to how much emotional baggage they carry around in their life," said Jenna Miller. "And they were filling it up with manure. Once they pick that up and see how heavy that is, it really sinks in about how much they're carrying around."
Eventually the women got to dump their buckets of manure -- and hopefully the loads they've been carrying around.
Quantum Leap Farm offers Warrior Mission: At EASE for women and men and active duty military as well as veterans. Each five-day retreat costs $25,000 but there is no charge for the participants. Everything is paid through donations and fundraising.
LINK: Click here to learn more about Quantum Leap Farm's Warrior Mission: At EASE program and to submit an application.