Cookie is a 10-year-old Western New York horse who has a knack for reading people’s feelings. She has been helping veterans for six years now.

What You Need To Know

  • Horses have a calming effect on people with anxiety and stress
  • An orientation took place at the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center on Tuesday to discuss a recreation therapy program
  • More information about the program can be found here

Veterans visited the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center on Tuesday for an orientation to learn about what a recreation therapy program could do to help them. The program is made possible thanks to a partnership of various organizations. 

“They stand in the center of the ring and interact with the horses. They learn how to communicate with them on a level that’s non-verbal,” says Taylor Samuelson, National Equine Institute of Growth through Healing, or N.E.I.G.H., advocate.

Not only are the animals calming in the moment, but it can help veterans well beyond their visit.

“Those who are suffering from pain and anxiety and stress, they come in and they release all of that and transfer it onto the horses," adds Samuelson.

As the veterans head home to decide whether they want to sign up for the program on a more long-term basis, Cookie heads back to the stable for a treat, to fuel up for the next group she will help.

"It’s almost an energy and the result that they get is purely magical,” says Samuelson.

More information about the program can be found here.