Miriam Webster Dictionary defines Valor as “Strength of mind or spirit that enables a person to encounter danger with firmness and courage". Today’s veterans are the pure definition of valor. Valor for Veterans has been created to incorporate the love of horses and the Lord to help those that have put everything on the line for our freedom. Valor for Veterans uses the horse's unique ability to heal not only the body but the soul. Together Veterans and horses will develop a bond, of unconditional love and acceptance. We have designed this great program to teach our Veterans all about horses, from caring for them like grooming, and feeding to riding. If they choose to, they can even compete in equestrian events in Colorado, or simply enjoy spending time with these noble creatures. Whatever makes them happy and at peace, We hope to make the Crusaders home, The Second Chance Ranch, a safe, loving tranquil place for our Veterans, and their families.
Red Pollard once said, "Everyone thinks we found this broken down horse and fixed him but really he fixed us."
The program goals:
Level three: After all the hard prep work, the fun begins during step three. Members of the crew will focus on teaching participants about basic equipment and accessories necessary for their equestrian experience. A member of our crew will teach riders how to effectively communicate with their horse prior to putting on a saddle. Horses aren't passive built for one-way communication, they are built to communicate with humans. The crew member will demonstrate how the horse uses it's body language to communicate. Movement of ears, position, stance, eyes, nostrils, facial tension, head and neck movements. All these signs keep the rider safe and are important to keep in mind when saddling, grooming, brushing, and working with their horse. The rider can then begin to saddle their horse, adjusting the stirrups, and completing the mounting process with confidence.
Level Four: With the horse waiting, groomed and saddled up, we are ready to ride! The best way to learn to ride is with a competent coach. A crew member will teach the steps in understanding how they mount their horse and once they're up, how to sit correctly in the saddle as they ride. The first thing the instructor will explain is how to cue the horse to walk, then as the riders confidence increases it will be time to learn to ride at faster paces to prepare for level six, loping.
Level Five: We start to focus on teamwork teaching veterans to help level one veterans We want to build a strong community and comradeship.
Level Six: We begin teaching riders to lope and work with the horse on patterns such as keeping palance and position in a trot, transitions between trot and canter, increasing./decreasing circles, keeping balance and position in the saddle which demonstrates to the rider they have learned valuable skills such as control, confidence, perception, problem solving and expressive/receptive language and good horsemanship.
Level Seven: If participants wish to go farther then we encourage them to participate in fun activities such as helping with chores at a working ranch or riding out on the range, or competing in cowboy or cowgirl competions. A list of equestrian sports can be found by going to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_equestrian_sports
All of these levels are built for comfort levels of the riders. Instructors will wait for them to feel confident in moving to the next level. We will take as much time as it takes to get the rider comfortable before proceeding to the next level. We are so excited to see these veterans grow, heal and create a bond with these horses. Most importantly they are welcome to continue participating at the ranch as long as they like. We offer a fun safe haven where participants can relieve stress, build friendship's and create many life long memories .