In 2004, Congress designated December 13 as National Horse Day in appreciation of their roles in and contributions to our evolution.

There is no doubt that horses have changed the face of the world and that in the 6,000 years since we first domesticated them, their destiny has been entwined with ours. Plowing fields, pulling carriages and delivering mail. Taking us into battle and home.  Traveling to the far corners of the earth to discover new lands and cultures.  

Those of us who know them well sometimes wonder why they put up with all of the things we have asked of them, but the closest we can come to an answer — is that they are good-hearted, strong and generous souls who are willing to serve — no matter what.

Since the invention of the automobile however, their essential roles in our lives diminished and they were relegated to the world of equestrian sport.  The good news is, that over the past 25 years, we have found a new way to engage with them that has far more meaning and purpose.  Some have become the only means by which folks with spinal cord injuries and issues around sensory integration have begun to ‘take back the reins’ in their own lives. In these roles, they have broadened the worlds of kids and adults for whom choices would be very limited. 

In our work at The Equus Effect, we deal with the invisible wounds of war or prolonged stress that also leaves people in uniform feeling that they have very few choices in life. Through ground-based horsemanship skills and emotional fitness training, we broaden the horizons of people who would otherwise pull down the shades and retreat from the world. 

Our horses provide the space and we give folks the tools to rediscover themselves and remember who and what they were before the world became too much to bear.  

Our horse Dutch Boy is a shining example of one such creature whose charisma, intelligence, (almost) endless patience and fabulous sense of humor has brought hundreds of men and women in uniform back to their own humanity. 

Dutch and his good friends Tango, Babe and Doc love their jobs. They know that what they do is important. They help the brave men and women on whom we depend to protect us in our communities and abroad settle down and open doors to a new freedom that comes from the inside out.

So, here’s to Dutch and all of the horses who have and continue to serve us so very well!