SUNY Cobleskill Offers Equine Therapy for Veterans Program This Winter

COBLESKILL, NY (NEWS10) – SUNY Cobleskill is currently offering a new Therapeutic Riding program for veterans during its winter term, December through January 2021. The school has also launched a “Living Life Skills Riding Micro-Certificate Therapeutic”, free for veterans wishing to register via the winter session program. .

Participants commit to five weeks hands-on time with the horses at Cobleskill Equine Center ground programming or recreational riding. Weekly one-hour sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays will be limited to four participants each to maintain social distancing. The program is open to veterans of all physical abilities, and no training or experience with horses is necessary.

“Our horses are easy-going and intelligent, and they want to interact with people. The horses themselves do a lot of the teaching in riding and handling and that, in itself, is soothing,” said Carolyn Nelson, Veterans and Navy Program Manager. “As veterans, we are used to being stoic and not showing our emotions. Horses capture our emotions and it is this gentle understanding that horses show that encourages a restorative experience.

The SUNY Cobleskill Therapeutic Horsemanship program partnered with the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center for an unridden equine program in 2019. Feedback and ratings from these veterans reported reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Veterans interested in learning more about the program should contact Nelson by email. The program is currently accepting applicants for the spring semester.

The program is made possible through donor support and an adaptive sports grant from the federal Department of Veterans Affairs. Cobleskill’s is one of 14 equine therapy programs nationwide to receive such a grant in 2020. It will help fund improved access to the program for veterans with disabilities, for example, acquiring an elevator to help veterans who use a wheelchair to ride a horse.

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