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Horse Therapy in Grand Rapids Helps Veterans and Struggling Adults, Kids

Updated: 07/23/2014 10:36 PM
Created: 07/23/2014 3:07 PM WDIO.com
By: Laurie Stribling
lstribling@wdio.com

Whoever said a dog is man's best friend, never had a horse. 

"They definitely give us more than we ever give them," Jason Montana said. 

At five miles per hour, Montana and a group of horseback riders are making their way to the North Star Stampede Rodeo. They're camping along the way and helping people as well. 

"We do devotions in the evening," Montana said. "We cook together, camp out."

Montana is the co-owner of M.Y. Family Ranch in Grand Rapids. They offer horse therapy for veterans with PTSD and kids with behavioral issues. 

"You get them young and get them hooked on something healthy rather than drugs and alcohol," Montana said.

Horses have helped Beth Potter in several different ways.

"I have a lot of joint pain; the horses help with my joint pain," Potter said. "A lot of trauma growing up and emotionally they have benefited me. They're comfort."

While M.Y. Family Ranch is all about helping other people, it all started because of Montana. 

"I myself am a soldier," Montana said. "A 22-year vet, five deployments, three years worth in Iraq alone."

That service meant trouble back at home. 

"I brought a lot of baggage with me," Montana said. 

One of the things that helped him cope was a rescued horse. It was better than a therapist. 

"After a few trips to the hospital and a lot of patience between the both of us, her and I became best friends,' Montana said. 

That message is already crystal clear for 18-year-old Robert Bennett. 

"It teaches you responsibility and how to care for an animal bigger than you," Bennett said.

No matter what life throws at you, when you have a horse, you can always get back in the saddle. 

If you're interested in horse therapy, you can visit the M.Y. Family Ranch Facebook page by clicking here. 

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