It’s been a great week at HorseBack. We had some very special visitors, who will be part of some mighty plans for the future. It’s always a great pleasure, building new partnerships, expanding our scope, and working with people who have so much knowledge, enthusiasm and expertise. Jay Hare did a presentation, Jock and Emma Hutchison did horsing demonstrations in arena and round-pen, and many stimulating discussions were had. We can’t thank our visitors enough for coming, some of them from a very long way away, and we are galvanised by the thought of our future collaboration.
It was also volunteer week. This is where our veterans come back and do all kinds of work about the farm, with the horses and in the fields. It’s an important part of what we think of here as the virtuous circle. The veterans first came to us to get help; then they give help back. All of them say that doing this means a great deal to them. It’s the same principle that applies to the mentor and ambassador programmes, and it helps stitch these men and women deep into the HorseBack family.
The loss of a sense of belonging and brotherhood (and sisterhood too) is something that many people who leave the services feel keenly. If they are facing life-changing injury or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, this rupture is exacerbated, and can lead to isolation, lack of purpose, even despair. They were part of something, a tight band of comrades, a fierce team, and, suddenly, they are on their own. This can be a catastrophic change.
What they find at HorseBack is a renewed sense of teamwork, a feeling of being part of something bigger than themselves, a restored purpose. All these men and women need a mission. That was what they were really, really good at. We give them that mission.