As Program Director for the Warrior Wellness Program I have been seeking and screening additional therapeutic tools to add to our program’s toolbox. A program that Billy Jack and I have been looking at and having dialogue with and about for the past two plus years has been the Horse Boy Method, originated by Rupert Isaacson. Although this method was originated for children with autism, it has been found to be therapeutic for other individuals with neurodiversity, including Traumatic Brain Injury, Post-Traumatic Stress, anxiety, and depression.
In late September, Bianca Rimbach, the wife of a retired Coast Guard service member, elementary school teacher, talented horsewoman, and long-time volunteer at the AFA Equestrian Center completed a training in the Horse Boy Method offered by Rupert Isaacson in Colorado Springs at the ProRodeo Hall of Fame. Bianca immediately began implementing elements from the training into her elementary school classroom with tremendous success – to the point that her school district is looking at implementing the method district wide. Bianca and I also immediately began dialoguing about how we could implement aspects of the Horse Boy Methods into the Warrior Wellness Program.
Horse Boy has fairly rigorous requirements of facilities that are certified to implement their philosophy, however, they have also been very supportive, agreeing to and supporting adaptations for a more adult community focus, knowing that our focus is on warriors and their families, before the autistic community.
Bianca and I began a regimen of training for the horses that will be used in the program. We also began implementing some of the Horse Boy work, such as the sensory work with warriors in my women’s group, receiving a tremendously positive response. In fact, the warriors suggest and highly recommend the sensory work to other warriors. Additionally, I passed a warrior in weekly EAL sessions on to Bianca for weekly riding lessons and Horse Boy method work. Bianca is doing a case study on this particular warrior.
Late last Thursday afternoon I completed an intake with the widow of a Navy warrior and her three children – one autistic. We will implement a combination of the Equine Assisted Learning with the Horse Boy Method for this family for grief work, family healing, and growth. On Friday morning one of my Navy warrior program volunteers and an additional Equestrian Center volunteer assisted me in providing the sensory work to a male Navy warrior – a Master Chief Petty Officer who is an Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) leader – that struggles with anxiety. His response echoed that of the womens’ group in enthusiasm for the sensory work.
We need a small cadre of volunteers that can keep up the horse training work and help with the Horse Boy Method sessions. We have scheduled a training for 18 and 19 February 2018. Two certified trainers will come to the USAFA Equestrian Center to give the training. A total of 7 volunteers have committed to attend the training, including David Andrews’ wife, Patty. I request that, in exchange for commitment from the volunteers, Remount pay the training fee for 5 of the trainees at $495/person or $2,475. Each
volunteer has been asked to pay $100 for food and use of Equestrian Center horses.
Thank you for your consideration,
Response from David & Patty Andrews
I endorse Jeanne’s proposal and vote “yes” because it directly supports our core purpose and it broadens our Foundation’s ability to care for our warriors and their families. The multi-discipline approach gives Jeanne and our volunteers different ways to help our warriors.
“In fact, the warriors suggest and highly recommend the sensory work to other warriors.” That word-of-mouth affirmation between warriors is an exceptionally powerful affirmation.
Thank you, Jeanne, for the great update and explanation!
My warmest regards to all, and I remain,
Very respectfully yours,