Shovels, rakes, wheelbarrows and saws were the tools used in the gloved hands of student veteran leaders to build camaraderie, leadership skills, and teamwork. The city of Dallas and Equest hosted a select group from Student Veterans of America last Thursday for an afternoon of service work at Texas Horse Park in Dallas.
The 100 student veterans from throughout the U.S., from as far away as Hawaii, Washington and New Jersey, cleared trails, trimmed trees, installed a sensory riding course and other additional activities. The work was designed to support Equest’s upcoming fundraiser for its horses, Ridefest, as well as its ongoing therapeutic horsemanship programming.
The institute is training for student veterans pursuing degrees in schools across the country.
“Each of these students (has) demonstrated remarkable showmanship and community involvement,” stated Jared Lyon, SVA’s president and CEO, in a press release. “They have been recognized and hand-selected from 600,000 student veterans from our national organization and are visiting Dallas to develop their personal leadership ethos and shape the future of America.”
Equest, a non-profit that provides equine facilitated activities, therapies and counseling for children and adults with special needs, also offers a zero-cost veterans program and services.
“The goal of our Hooves for Heroes program is for our veterans to better adjust to civilian life and ultimately become leaders in the community. These student veterans not only improved the lives of our clients but also served as an inspiration for us all,” stated Jeff Hensley, director of clinical services and Hooves for Heroes, in the release.
Hooves aims to empower veterans and military families and provides a program to help them better cope with daily challenges and take charge of their civilian transitions and to assume new roles as civic leaders. Since it launched six years ago, Hooves has helped more than 800 veterans and military families.