Healing Horses & Armed Forces 501c3
in Tehachapi, Ca.
Bear Valley Springs
661 821-0482

Why Horses?

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661 821-0482

Why partner with horses?

Those who are familiar with horses recognize and understand the power of the horse to influence people in incredibly powerful ways. Developing relationships, training, horsemanship instruction, and caring for the horses naturally affects the people involved in a positive manner.

The benefits of work ethic, responsibility, assertiveness, communication and healthy relationships has long been recognized. Horses naturally provide these benefits. Partnering with horses is growing and gaining popularity with the rise of new approaches in working with horses, including the field of Equine Assisted programming.

We are often asked, Why horses? "Why not other animals?"

Horses are large and powerful, which creates a natural opportunity to overcome fear and develop confidence. The size and power of the horse are naturally intimidating to many people.

Accomplishing a task involving the horse, in spite of fear, creates confidence and provides for wonderful metaphors when dealing with other intimidating and challenging situations in life.

Horses are very much like humans in that they are social animals and we both have a fight, flight or freeze response when threatened. Although, as humans we also can use reason and communicate, without learning how to use other methods our natural reaction is the same as our equine friends. Like us, horses have defined roles within their herds. They would rather be with their peers. They have distinct personalities, attitudes, and moods. An approach that seems to work with one horse, does not necessarily work with another. At times, they seem stubborn and defiant. They like to have fun. in other words, horses provide vast opportunities for metaphorical learning. Using metaphors, in discussion or activity, is an effective technique when working with even the most challenging individuals or groups.

Horses require a certain level of coherence, in order for them to cooperate with us. In an era when immediate gratification and the "easy way" are the norm, horses require people to be engaged in physical and mental work to be successful, a valuable characteristic in all aspects of life.
The horse teaches people not to be in the guilt of the past, the fear of the future, but in the present moment.

Most importantly, horses have the ability to mirror exactly what human body language is telling them. Many people will complain, "The horse is stubborn. The horse won't listen," etc. But the lesson to be learned is that if they change themselves, the horse will respond differently. Horses are honest, which makes them especially powerful messengers.

The horses language is energy and intention. Horses are 1,200 lb. lie detectors. 

Become a sponsor of one of our equine masters.


This is Smokey. We first found him at an auction when he was 3 years old. Charisse rode him on trail until he was 9 and then he started having sore feet. We had him checked and found out he had navicular, a bone degeneration disease. We did all we could to ease the pain but finally had to have him nerved. After that, we found him a home close by where we could keep on eye on him and visit.  A few years later we moved. On a return visit we found he wasn't having the care we had expected so we asked for him back. He is fantastic at not cooperating if you are not committed to what you are asking him to do. He is a perfect equine assistant. He might have navicular, but he still can be ridden lightly on the flat and he runs around a pasture most of the day. He needs joint supplements and shavings to be comfortable.  Smokey likes to lick your arm like a dog and he loves hugs.

This is Patch. He has a parrot mouth, otherwise a very big overbite. He makes a great equine partner because he is so relaxed and gets along well with other horses. Nothing much bothers him and he is affectionate to people. He likes to take people's hats off, and play with the toys we use at the programs for obstacles. He is a real character.  Patch will stop eating just to give you a kiss. Patch is the kind of horse you just want to hang out with.

This is Lilly. Her real name is, "She's mine tonight." but she never did like that name. She is from a race track. She placed 20 seconds behind all the other horses and the owners said, "next."  When she came to live with us her back was out of alignment. We had her back adjusted and she broke out in a sweat. We had her aluminum racing shoes taken off and the farrier said, " no wonder she was slow, every time she touched down the shoes were pinching her feet."  Lilly needs Joint supplement, regular chiropractic work and love. She is not a warm and fuzzy horse. She is a lets get down to business kind of gal, and in charge of the others. With a name like, "She's mine tonight," can you blame her? She is fantastic working with veterans and their families because her characteristics are similar to a person who wants to be left alone. She is trusting around people. She is kind, controlling, high spirited, and intelligent.

This is Penny. We found her online at a feedlot on the east coast.  We had her shipped all the way to the west coast of CA. She was left at the feedlot to be killed. We rescued her and her side kick Danny. She is sensitive and loves kisses, but she is also very hesitant of people, especially men. She and Danny participate in parades when we get a chance to show off. She accompanies us when we talk to people about our veteran programs.  She would love shavings in the winter and a new halter.  Penny is kind and loving.

This is Brie. She was pretty wild when she first came. Left in a pasture by herself until age 3, she was like a child who was not socialized. Brie didn't trust much of anything, and if she got spooked she would freak out and scare her self even more. She is a favorite in every program. Brie is now my favorite horse to ride because she is so loving and mellow. She makes a great horse because she has the kind of energy that everyone wants to be around. She is loving, sensitive, beautiful and wants to please.
Not a mean bone in her body. The last program the participants named her, Mother Teresa. 

This was Danny Boy and now we call him Dan the Man, He is the Mini that we saved along with Penny from being killed. He is intelligent, feisty, and  mischievous.  We clicker trained him in a matter of two weeks when he first arrived.  He can walk by your side, back up, turn around and bow just with a click. He is very confident. This is Danny at the veterans day parade. He has a dog muzzle on in this photo because he likes to nip. When he came to us from back east he had a terrible runny nose. We gave him bovine colostrum for 6  months and Mango one of our dogs loved him everyday and finally it went away.  Check out his tail. is 6ft. 3. He no longer needs a muzzle because we were able to geld him in 2013.  
He is a cutie pie!

Those are our equine masters.

They cost about $15,600 a year to keep them well fed and cared for. If you would like to sponsor one or more, HHAAF will give you a receipt for tax purposes. HHAAF will also keep you informed of what your horse is up to and send you pictures.
HHAAF can only support the transition of our military son's and daughters with your help. Sponsor a horse and you will be helping a veteran just like we are doing.
Thank You, Charisse @ Healing Horses & Armed Forces

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