CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--According to the 2016 data from the Department of Veterans Affairs, roughly 20 veterans a day commit suicide nationwide. This alarming statistic solidifies the mental health crisis currently affecting vets who make up less than 9 percent of the U.S. population.
In raising awareness for the lives lost per day, Illinois non-profit organization, BraveHearts will host “Ride to Zero,” a twenty-mile trail ride around Manhattan that starts/ends in Central Park on Sunday, October 22, 2017. Beginning at daylight, the ride will feature five military veterans on horseback along with BraveHearts President/COO Meggan Hill-McQueeney and BraveHearts supporter and World Equestrian Games gold-medalist Aaron Ralston.
“Trail to Zero is an opportunity for us to raise awareness around the veteran suicide crisis,” explains Hill-McQueeney. “By riding, we hope to reach at least one veteran, one official, one benefactor, one American and show them how a horse can bring hope and trust back into a person’s life.”
BraveHearts is a Professional Association for Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) Premier Accredited Center that provides equine-assisted services to children, adults and military veterans in need. In 2007, BraveHearts began serving veterans and have since become the largest PATH Intl. horse program in the country. BraveHearts provides innovative services for veterans at no cost and has helped over 639 veterans providing over 12,962 sessions to veterans in 2016. By utilizing a faculty of national experts, BraveHearts is a center of excellence within the therapeutic industry through its unique efforts in programming, education and research.
“We are continuously told by veterans that our programs saved their life; that without these mustangs and horses, they would have been a statistic,” explains Hill-McQueeney.
With locations in Illinois (Harvard and Poplar Grove), BraveHearts has developed, presented and implemented curriculum at the national level to help strengthen the industry’s education on serving veterans with use of horses. Connecting with a wild horse requires an exchange of trust, quieting the mind and staying in the moment for both to begin to heal.
For more information on “Ride to Zero” or to view a map of the trail ride, please visit www.braveheartsriding.org.