Our Programs

Healing Heroes

Empowering groups of Veterans, fire service personnel, and law enforcement officers through tailored equine-assisted behavioral wellness programs.

Our Programs

Healing Heroes

Healing Heroes

Empowering groups of Veterans, fire service personnel, and law enforcement officers through tailored equine-assisted behavioral wellness programs.

The Program

Healing Heroes is a two-day equine-assisted behavioral wellness program designed to provide enriching therapeutic experiences. Tailored for groups of Veterans, fire service personnel, or law enforcement officers, this program offers profound enhancements in mental well-being, fostering greater resilience and self-efficacy, and promoting a deeper sense of empowerment. Participants also develop stronger interpersonal relationships, gain valuable problem-solving skills, and experience a significant reduction in symptoms of stress, anxiety, and trauma. Healing Heroes is dedicated to fostering hope, purpose, and recovery.

The Experience

During Healing Heroes, participants embark on a transformative two-day journey. This unique program is entirely ground-based and centered around building a profound bond with our equine partners. Horses have a remarkable ability to sense and mirror human emotions, providing valuable feedback and facilitating emotional healing. Their non-judgmental nature and acute sensitivity make them powerful allies in promoting emotional well-being and self-awareness.

Through cooperative activities with these remarkable animals, participants have the opportunity to explore Somatic Experiencing—a holistic approach that helps individuals reconnect with their bodies. This shared journey creates a profound connection between participants and our program horses, all of whom are part of our New Horizons re-homing program. These horses have faced and overcome past trauma and stress.

A therapeutic experience - Veteran stands in tender moment with horse head resting against his side

Program Benefits

Healing Heroes offers a unique opportunity for participants to:

  • Enhance Behavioral Wellness: Through interactions with our equine partners, participants in the Healing Heroes program experience significant improvements in their behavioral wellness. This holistic approach fosters emotional balance, reduces symptoms of stress, anxiety, and trauma, and promotes greater overall well-being. These therapeutic experiences extend beyond the program, helping participants navigate life’s challenges with increased emotional resilience and self-awareness.
  • Boost Self-Efficacy: Participants experience an increase in self-efficacy, gaining the confidence to overcome obstacles and take control of their lives. Research has shown that individuals who feel more self-efficacious are at a lower risk of developing PTSD and may also experience reduced symptoms if they have already been affected by trauma.

  • Cultivate Resilience: By working alongside our equine partners and learning from their innate resilience — the capacity to bounce back from adversity, growing stronger in the process — participants gain a deeper understanding of their own ability to overcome challenges. This newfound resilience not only impacts their interactions with horses but also extends to their daily lives, empowering them to face life’s hurdles with increased strength and determination.

  • Connect and Recover: Healing Heroes offers a nurturing environment where participants join groups of like-minded peers — fellow Veterans, fire service personnel, or law enforcement officers. This shared experience fosters a deep sense of connection, enabling individuals to embark on a journey of recovery, personal growth, and mutual support.

Program Oversight

Our Healing Heroes program is led by a dedicated team of professionals, including certified equine specialists, behavioral health experts, and experienced staff who are passionate about the welfare of Veterans, fire service personnel, and law enforcement officers.

Collaboration with First Responder Support Services

In addition to our core team, our First Responder programs have oversight and input from the tri-county (Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura) Behavioral Wellness and Peer Support teams. This collaborative approach ensures that participants receive the specialized care and support they need, tailored to the unique challenges faced by fire service personnel and law enforcement officers in our counties. Their commitment to First-Responder well-being offers extensive support beyond our program, providing a network of resources and assistance to facilitate their journey toward healing and resilience.

Veteran-to-Veteran Mentorship

For our Healing Heroes Veterans programs, we recognize the incredible value of shared experiences. During our equine-assisted experiences for Veterans, we extend the power of peer-to-peer support to provide participants with a unique mentoring opportunity. Veterans who have already undertaken their journey toward healing and resilience play a vital role in guiding and supporting fellow Veterans through the program. This camaraderie and shared understanding are essential elements of our Healing Heroes initiative, ensuring that participants receive the empathetic and insightful support they deserve as they embark on their path to well-being and renewed purpose.

Retired racehorse looks forward with a soft eye while Veteran works in background

Program Enrollment

Healing Heroes for Fire Service and Law Enforcement

Our equine-assisted behavioral wellness programs for Fire Service Personnel and Law Enforcement Officers will commence in March 2024.

Enrollment in this program is by invitation from peer support within each department in the tri-county region of Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura. Prospective participants can reach out to their respective peer support leaders to express their interest and inquire about signing up for one of our upcoming equine-assisted programs, or contact us for further information.

Healing Heroes for Veterans

Our two-day Healing Heroes for Veterans program launched on November 3 and 4, 2023.

Veterans interested in enrolling in one of our upcoming programs can express their interest by contacting Justin Trammell, our Development Director and Veteran Program Coordinator, at 805-540-0117 or justin@heroeshorses.org, who will guide you through the application process and answer any questions you may have.

Program Calendar

We’ll have our full calendar of upcoming program dates available soon.