Veterans turn to equine therapy to combat stress levels

Some veterans are using horse therapy to reduce their stress levels.
Iraq War veteran Wolf Critton tells News 12 equine therapy is better than any medication he’s ever received.
"Just being able to get out of our own houses, our own heads, and engaging with animals - that's been with us hundreds of years...it's really cool,” says Critton.
Critton is one of six veterans participating in a five-week program at Brewster’s Pegasus therapeutic riding. Today was their first day.
Putnam County Veterans Service Director Karl Rohde is also a veteran. He says at first he was skeptical of the program but after two years ago of being around the horses, he became a horse handler.
"I can't recommend something to somebody if I haven’t experienced it, so I said I'd come and try it and see, and I was amazed,” recalls Rohde.
Due to the pandemic, the therapeutic riding company was forced to close in March. Executive Director Jeff Rumpf says the reopening in May was powerful.
"Children with special needs, they were so overjoyed and the families were so overjoyed. And veterans under double stress now,” says Rumpf.
According to experts, horse therapy can assist with combating stress because they’re so emotionally agile.
"They're aware of everything, they're like a great biofeedback machine, that also gives you fantastic energy,” says Rumpf.