BASTROP, Texas — Restoration Ranch is a place of second chances, belonging and community for veterans in Central Texas.
Located in Bastrop, the ranch sits on 22 acres of land, consisting of a veterans’ garden, memorial pavilion and 14 horses.
Executive director of the ranch Derek Knapp said the working horse facility is dedicated to helping veterans and their families rebuild and restore through equine therapy.
"We work with the veterans and their family members to show them how to calm themselves and be in the moment instead of worry about things that happened yesterday or may happen tomorrow. To push past that anxiety and push past that depression,” said Knapp.
He believes veterans working with horses serves the greater good. He said being a part of something greater than themselves fills the void of missing the military. That's true for veterans such as Amanda Lettmann, who served as an U.S. Air Force flight nurse.
She said the horses and veterans find common ground at the ranch and a sense of peace within each other.
“Like others here, I’m PTSD and traumatic events in military service is pretty high. Working with horses eases sense of control, gives us sense of peace and calm that you can carry with you through your days when you are having a challenge,” said Lettmann.
Sharon Knapp feels Restoration Ranch is a safe haven for veterans as they work through post-combat trauma while adjusting to civilian life.
“We’re here for just a little time in their life to show them that they are safe here, they’re welcome here, it’s peaceful here and to encourage them that there is life after service,” said Sharon.