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Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.
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PTSD, Veterans and Equine Therapy

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Jan 3rd 2011

PTSD, Veterans and Equine TherapyIn the past I have written about the importance of service dogs for veterans with PTSD.
According to a recent article that appeared in a local newspaper horses provide similar kinds of benefits for veterans. This type of therapy is called Physical Therapeutic Horseback Riding. It brings together horses with those with disabilities, MS, Downs Syndrome, returning Veterans with PTSD and TBI (Traumatic Bran Injury), among many other disabilities.

The article states that learning to control both the horse as well as one's own body, inspires self-confidence, responsibility and teamwork. Best of all, it is a thoroughly enjoyable experience, that creates a special relationship between rider and horse and promotes taking on personal challenges.

In addition to learning how to ride, clients groom their horses and learn how to use all of the equipment necessary for riding.

Riders learn balance and coordination while achieving self-assurance, muscle stimulation, improved posture, strength and flexibility.

In addition to the increased self esteem and confidence, veterans, when they are ready, take part in demonstrating riding skills in horse shows. In fact, the entire experience helps these veterans to overcome the tendency to self isolate.

If you are a returning veteran and are interested in Physical Therapeutic Horseback Riding contact:

Lorren Gardner, Program Director (he is ,male and was a fighter pilot) telephone:(941) 979-7428.

While Gardner's program is located, he can probably direct you to programs near where you live or, do an Internet search under the title of Physical Therapeutic Horseback Riding in order to find similar programs.

Your comments and questions are encouraged.

Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Readers who live in the Boulder, Colorado metro area, or in Southwest Florida may contact Dr. Schwartz for face-to-face consultation. He is also available for psychotherapy through Skype video for those who are not in Florida or Colorado. He can be reached via email at for details.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

PTSD Latest News - lindiA - Aug 8th 2011

Just thought i should share with you guys the latest news about PTSD that's apparently been experiencing by US Veterans.

United States veteran health care is currently in a labyrinth of inadequacy. Add to this the fact that some crucial medications do not work, as reported by a brand new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. According to the study, probably the most widely prescribed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) narcotics are no more useful than placebos at curing the condition, yet still have severe side effects like weight gain and exhaustion.

Article Source: [url=]Antipsychotics fail to alleviate PTSD symptoms in veterans [/url]

I'm really concerned about the hazardous effects of these so called drugs.This case should be taken seriously, considering the fact that US Veterans are fighting for a cause, and their health should be prioritized in any way possible.

Wonderful Resource - claire dorotik - Jan 8th 2011

Thanks you for drawing attention to a wonderful resource for returning veterans.


Claire Dorotik LMFT, author, ON THE BACK OF A HORSE: Harnessing the Healing Power of the Human-Equine Bond.

Correct Correction - Allan N. Schwartz, Phd - Jan 5th 2011

Hi danni,

That fact was just pointed out to me. Thank you and I stand corrected. This type of equine therapy is not new and has been around for a long time.

The message remains the same: this is a terrific type of therapy.

Thank you, danni and the others who "correctly corrected me." (smile)

Dr. Schwartz

not new - danni - Jan 3rd 2011

Although I don't know how long this has been used specifically with veterans, equine assisted psychotherapy and equine assisted therapy have been around for years!   I have been involved with it for a number of years.  The results can be magical at times for both mental health and physical health.  (i.e..when riding a horse, the same muscles you use to walk are stimulated.  It also teaches emotional management very quickly) Yes...I'm a believer :)   

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