By YM/MGySgt Emma Langley Lewis and Clark (WA) Last April, more than forty Lewis and Clark (WA) Young Marines and their parents went to Windhaven Therapeutic Riding in La Center, WA, for a day of community service or- ganized by YM/MGySgt Emma Lang- ley as a part of earning her Distin- guished Order of Merit. Windhaven is a non-profit organi- zation founded by Rodger Morrison and Denise Larson. Together, they and their team provide free equestri- an therapy to veterans afflicted with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental traumas. The program consists of eight sessions, through which riders progress from ground work (walk- ing next to the horse, learning non-ver- bal commands, and building a relation- ship with the horse) to a one week or longer horseback trip. At this time, riders have the opportu- nity to use the skills they have learned, and spend time with fellow veterans in a constructive and comforting commu- nity. When speaking with Denise Larson regarding how the therapy is beneficial to the treatment of PTSD and other trau- matic brain industries, I learned that in equestrian therapy it is the horses that act as therapists, choosing who they will treat and building strong bonds with the vets. These bonds allow the vets to confront their traumas at their own pace, forming new neural pathways to cope with stressors in a constructive manner. At the start, Rodger and some of his volunteers, some of whom had been par- ticipants of the therapy, gave a demon- stration on how to be safe around the horses as well as the kinds of skills veterans will be able to acquire as they progress through the course. Fol- lowing the demonstration and a detailed briefing, the Young Marines worked all day in small groups build- ing obstacles for both horses and their riders, aimed at fostering trust between the pairs. The obstacles included a teeter totter, daisy walk around, tire climb, trail turn around, and several others. The Young Marines successfully put to use their three core values (teamwork, leadership, and disci- pline) to read instructions and accom- plish the tasks assigned to them. Lewis and Clark: Learning About Equestrian Therapy By YM/Sgt Brett Graham Boston (MA) Young Marines from all over the country came to this SPACES event.The Young Marines arrived at the Orme School, located in Mayer,AZ, at about 16:00, had chow and then went on a tour of the Orme Ranch. The School was established in 1929, as is surrounded by an operating cattle ranch. Next day we woke up at 06:00 and we had morn- ing formation to go to morning chow and we had our first class which was art and we were making picture frames. After art class, we went kayaking and then we had free time to go to the pool or the Commons (The Commons is a place with games and pool or ping pong). After that , we had eve- ning chow and we then went on a hike up to the top of a mountain. For the rest of the trip we had classes like ropes courses, art, water actives. We were able to make friends that will last a lifetime. Young Marines SPACES Event at the Orme School Young Marines at the main gate of the Orme School The “Quarter Circle V Bar”, the symbol of the Orme Ranch and the school 22 YOUNG MARINES ESPRIT Online