SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — A 2021 meta-analysis showed that 20% of U.S. veterans live with depression, and many others develop PTSD. In fact, between 17 and 40 former and active-duty service members commit suicide each day.

Tara Mahoney is a trauma counselor for the military, and founder of the Equine Immersion Project, a traveling program that pairs veterans with horses as therapy. The Horses and Humans Research Foundation has found that equine therapy greatly benefits those with emotional struggles.

The animals offer biofeedback, in that their temperatures are warmer, so humans feel better in their presence. Horses have slower respirations, so humans start to breathe slower, too. Horses are very much “in tune” with humans and can hear your heartbeat from 10 feet away.

That’s why Peggi Noon founded Pegasus Riding Academy in Savannah. They mainly offer treatment for children who may be disabled by offering a non-verbal modality for therapy. Benefits for children with physical limitations include improvements to lymphatic fluids, building muscles, producing red blood cells, as well as lifting self-esteem and confidence. Plus, kids don’t even know they’re exercising, they just know they’re having fun.

If you or someone you love is struggling with physical or emotional limitations, talk to your doctor about adding equine therapy to your healing program. You can begin the process of enrolling your child or becoming a volunteer by clicking here.