As a national officer of the Catholic War Veterans, I was honored to learn of Rich Iannucci, a founding member of CWV Post 1610 in Santa Fe, NM. Rich contacted our National Office to tell us of a program he initiated called Horses for Heroes in Santa Fe. They provide lessons in horsemanship to veterans and active military (both men and women) who have sustained PTSD, physical injuries or combat trauma during their time serving our country. From day one Veterans are hands on with their horses beginning with groundwork and progressing to riding, as well as participating in other aspects of ranch life, including working cattle and more importantly experiencing the camaraderie with cowboys who are Veterans themselves. The program is staffed entirely by volunteers and they are privately funded by donations. Ultimately their program is self-sustaining by the Veteran participants themselves as they complete the skills required for the different phases of the Cowboy Up! Program. This allows Veterans to become program instructors and under the volunteer mentor-ship of working ranch cowboys raise and train the horses that are the program horses for future Veterans coming into the program.
Rich’s website, www.horsesforheroes.org, indicates that this program is endorsed by NM Department of Veterans’ Services, New Mexico Cattle Growers Association and their member ranches, Cimarron Maverick Club NM,Wrangler National Patriot Program, and Gold Star Mothers of America – Albuquerque Chapter. To that, we add our name and best wishes.