Bravehearts’ “Trail to Zero” honors mental health

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, on average, 20 veterans and active members lose a different kind of fight each day, taking their own lives.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month, so bravehearts wanted to do something to help.

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To raise awareness and promote mental health options, they’re riding 20 miles in hopes of one day getting that number down to zero.

Bravehearts is the largest equine therapy program in the country for military veterans.

“A lot of our veterans who participate in our programs attribute horses to really not only changing their lives but often times even saving their lives” McQueeney said.

Meggan Hill-McQueeney is the president and COO of Bravehearts, she says veterans in the program talk about how the horses help them re-discover trust, hope and joy.

“Horses are just very special creatures. Innately they are brilliant at reading intention and they are constantly seeking peace, that’s who they are to the core. There is no way around a horse but to be truly authentic with who you are,” McQueeney said.

Angie Colella is an air force veteran, she says she has tried counseling and medication but nothing compares to the benefits of horse therapy.

“I struggled really a long time, over 30 honestly, with PTSD and depression and just being antisocial. Missing my family, friends, I cut myself off but the horse therapy it really works, for me anyway and I’d like other veterans to give it a try because they have nothing to lose,” Colella said.

Nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain.