BASTROP, Texas -- A ranch in Bastrop is leaving horse training to U.S. military veterans.
They say it's a part of their mission to save neglected animals while helping our nation's heroes.
It was a tough life for Trooper the horse before arriving at Restoration Ranch.
"He was with the Department of Public Safety. He was physically and mentally really fried," said Beth Rand, President of Restoration Ranch
The ranch lived up to its name, restoring Trooper to his former glory. Now, thanks to the ranch, Trooper can help the same people that saved him.
"Not only did it help the horses being partnered with veterans suffering their own traumas and own service related conditions," Rand said. "It helped the horses and helped the veterans. It works both ways."
It’s the third annual veteran family day at Restoration Ranch, a day where the families of veterans can see how helping traumatized horses helps veterans deal with the trauma of war.
"A lot of times transitioning from active duty or service into the civilian world can be daunting for a number of reasons. We help with that transition," said Restoration Ranch Executive Director Derek Knapp.
Knapp is the executive director of the 27-acre property and an Army Veteran. Having been around animals his whole life, he said the key to this type of therapy is in the horse.
"Being able to work with an animal that kind of gets you without having to really talk about what your issues are," Knapp said. "They’re very spatially aware so they’re aware of something you may be going through and they’re there for you without you necessarily thinking that."
Trooper may never know how much he helped change the lives of the vets here at the ranch. Those veterans won’t forget what Trooper and the good people at restoration ranch did for them
"They bridge that gap or that need that you have to talk to somebody but don’t have the will to talk about it," Knapp said. "That’s the beauty the horses provide."