HAHIRA, GA (WALB) - Senior Airman Russell Ward was just back from deployment as of Monday and riding horses has helped him relieve much of the stress that comes along with reintegrating into normal life.
"It's a stress reliever, it really is. It's one of the best stress relievers I've ever had, working' with horses," said Ward.
The program is called "Equine Assistance for Heroes." Leslie Jacobs is the director of Jacobs' Ladder Riding Facility and began looking into adding the program after holding an open house for military members at the facility.
"From that, we sort of decided that, 'I think this is something that the Moody family would welcome,'" Jacobs explained.
Ward said working with the horses helps military members work on the skills that they have to use to reintegrate themselves into their families' lives after being gone for several months.
"They're not immediately accepted into society. They're not comin' back to 'welcome back," Ward said. "They have to work towards how they're gonna incorporate themselves back into their own lives. and it's the same way with horses, you have to learn to incorporate yourself into their life."
As of Monday, Jacobs had spent much of the year prior preparing to start the program and was hoping to officially begin in July or August. She hoped that once it did start it would be able to help the families of the military members, too. "It's just kind of a new avenue that we're going down with hopes that we can provide for more people," said Jacobs.
A hope that Russell Ward was already helping make a reality.