Hooves for Heroes offers respite, healing for military, kids and families

Published: Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 05:15 PM.

Life at Silent Hooves can be as structured or informal as participants want.

"It's a real simple program. We just try to bring families together. They just hang out and spend some quiet time with the horses," Peters said.

"It's very quiet out here. We try to help them cope with some of the combat stresses they have — whether it's loss of a buddy or family stresses when they get back — and find their place in the home again."

Local clergymen also sometimes stop by and visit with service members or families seeking spiritual counseling, Peters said.

Soldiers and their families sometimes pitch in with farm chores, repairing fences or feeding animals. Community volunteers donate money toward horse feed and veterinary care.

Students often volunteer with the special-needs children, which has led to withdrawn children coming out of their shells, socializing with other kids and even joining local scout troops, Peters said.

"I just love sitting back and just watching them. It's been a  dream of mine," she said. "I'm literally living a dream and giving back to the community, which is a double bonus."

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