N.J. Horse To Be Awarded Planetree Service Animal Medal of Honor

Spring Thaw gets some loving from a young client at Spring Reins of Life. Credits: Provided by Spring Reins of Life


THREE BRIDGES, N.J. — Thanks to bitter cold weather, it had been some time since the veterans had been able to attend therapy sessions at Spring Reins of Life (SRoL).

When the weather cleared the veterans arrived at the farm with news they were excited to share — Spring Thaw, the lead therapy horse, was to be honored by the Veteran’s Administration with the Planetree Service Animal Medal of Honor. For SRoL co-founder Christianna Capra, the news was bittersweet. Just a few days earlier, on Jan. 20, Spring was laid to rest due to the infirmities of old age.

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Spring was a founding member of the SRoL therapy herd. “Since our beginning of Operation Horse, Spring has worked with and served over 700 veterans from the N.J. VA Healthcare System as well as local combat veterans in New Jersey. Many of whom referred to him as ‘The General or Grandpa.’ This is a very special honor for us. Spring's remaining Herd members will accept this Honor on his behalf, posthumously,” Capra said.

A ceremony to honor Spring will be held on Tuesday, March 20 — the first day of Spring — at 10:30 a.m. at Hunt Cap Farm, 401 Main Street, Three Bridges. It would also have been Spring’s 31st birthday.

Only 15 service animals in the country are being awarded the Medal of Honor. A national ceremony will be held in October in Maryland. 

“Spring's life left a life marker on countless clients in the nine years he spent working his JediHorse magic in our EAP arena. We are so blessed to have had his guidance and wisdom shared so freely,” Capra said.

See for information about the ceremony, e-mail or call 347-886-2798.

A Comedy Night fundraiser is also planned for April 21 at the Flemington Elks. Details will be available soon.

See for more information about SRoL.

SRoL Mission Statement:

Spring Reins of Life is dedicated to promoting psychological healing, emotional well-being and personal growth using the skills of mental health professionals and the guided assistance of horses.  For thousands of years there has been a unique bond between humans and horses, it is our mission to enhance and leverage this bond to reach those individuals who are suffering from the effects of trauma, loss, drug addiction and/or the combined stressors and obstacles set forth by either circumstance or societal confines.

The primary populations that Spring Reins of Life works to serve are At Risk Youth, Military Veterans and their Families, and Bereaved Children.

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