Equine therapy reaching out to help veterans with PTSD in Clearwater

Posted at 4:58 PM, Jul 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-14 16:58:41-04

For the first time in his life, blind veteran Michael Jernigan got on a horse as part of an equine therapy session in Clearwater. 

Inspire Equine Therapy is a non-profit organization at the Creek Under the Son Stables that helps disabled children ten and up, as well as adults but they want to reach out to help veterans for free. 

Melissa Yarbrough, executive director for the program said they have programs to help veterans with PTSD.

The Freedom Heroes and Equines Carriage driving is a free carriage driving program for disabled veterans and first responders.

Part of the program includes petting, grooming, riding and interacting with horses. 

Jernigan is the first double blind service member in the Global War on Terror. 

On Friday, the therapy session of getting on a horse -- was his first time. 

"To be honest with you, I think it's a lot of the fact that it's so different for me that it's got me out of my comfort zone, which is a good thing," he said. 

Jernigan, who has had guided service dogs said the experience was a relaxing -- and different type of peaceful therapy. 

He hopes other veterans struggling will reach out for help, "at the end of the day, we never accomplished any mission on our own when we were in the service so it's not practical that we could accomplish a mission of feeling better on our own outside the service."

Jernigan has written a book about his struggles and his vision, see here.

For more information on Inspire Equine Therapy, click here.