BERNARDS TWP., NJ – Veterans from Valley Brook Village housing in the Lyons section of Basking Ridge have been attending programs working with horses at Lord Stirling Stable in Basking Ridge for enjoyment, education, professional, and therapeutic value.
The staff at the Somerset County Park Commission's public stable recently welcomed for some outings a group of veterans for some outings Valley Brook Village housing for previously homeless veterans, who are now living at the Department of Veterans Affair campus off Valley Road in Lyons.
The nine veterans participated in hands-on activities including horse grooming, an exercise that is interesting and fun, and may also have therapeutic value; research has shown that interacting with horses can be effective therapy to help reduce post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other psychological conditions. Studies suggest that simply being around horses can initiate and support feelings of calm and well-being.
The veterans, who undergo job training while living at Valley Brook, also learned some of the skills needed for working in the equine industry.
The stable is located at at 256 S. Maple Ave. in Basking Ridge.
Three stable staff members and three horses worked with the veterans in 90-minute sessions during which they participated in four typical grooming exercises.
Veterans return another day
The group subsequently returned to the stable on another day to enjoy a hayride, campfire, and hot dog roast.
“Both the veterans and the staff enjoy the visits,” said stable manager Marge Margentino. “It is very obvious that interacting with the horses has a positive influence on the men. We are all proud to be in a position to help these men who have given so much to us.”
The stable staff is also working in coordination with MTI Integrated Business Development, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization of “Veterans Helping Veterans,” to teach participants the skills they need to qualify for work in the equine industry.
One of the veterans has already been hired as a part-time stable worker at Lord Stirling.
Lord Stirling Stable is situated on 450 acres with 18 miles of trails (wooded and fields), one indoor ring, three outdoor rings, and a cross-country jumping course.
For information on the activities and programs at Lord Stirling Stable call 908-788-5955 or visit www.somersetcountyparks.org. For more information on MTI Integrated Business Development, Inc., please visit www.mtinj.org. Valley Brook Village information may be found at www.peabodyproperties.com.