Veterans & First Responders Program

ANNOUNCEMENT: Early Giving for North Texas Giving Day starts today, Sept 1st. Please join us in sponsoring the local VETERANS & FIRST RESPONDERS who’ve signed-up for this incredible program, MUSTANGS & WARHORSES, to work with horses to heal from stress and trauma related issues like anxiety, depression, and PTSD. We have donated $10,000 to sponsor 4 participants, but there are 15-20 vets/first responders who have already sign-up. They need your help. Every dollar counts towards making sure none are left behind! Click on this link to go to the donation page for this very unique program that will also help the mustangs: Keep reading to learn more.

Introducing Mustangs & Warhorses

Mustangs & Warhorses EFP Program for Veterans & First Responders

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Mullen & Mullen Law Firm has joined forces with two 501c3 charities, Evanescent Mustang Rescue & Sanctuary and Divine Equine Therapeutic Riding Center, to sponsor and bring awareness to a new EFP program in North Texas that will assist Veterans, first responders, and wild mustangs: MUSTANGS & WARHORSES.

What is EFP?

EFP stands for Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy, which is a non-traditional therapy utilizing horses. In studies, EFP has shown to help reduce symptoms of PTSD and other trauma-related conditions. Instead of asking participants to talk about and relive their trauma, which most are reluctant to do, it fosters confidence, trust building, emotional grounding, and self-reflection by teaching horse skills.

Veteran Learning to Ride at Divine Equine Therapeutic Riding Center in Sherman, TX
Veteran Learning to Ride at Divine Equine Therapeutic Riding Center in Sherman, TX

Veterans and first responders suffer from many of the same stress and trauma-related mental health conditions, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, anger, traumatic brain injury (TBI), substance abuse, inability to trust, trouble reintegrating, and increased suicide rates. Captive wild mustangs suffer from similar issues and when Veterans and first responders work with them, they realize an affinity with these special horses.

Two Rescued Mustangs
Candace Ray, LPC & Executive Director of Evanescent Mustang Rescue & Sanctuary with Newly Rescued Mustangs Epona, Comanche, & Ariana

What Makes Horses, and Especially Mustangs, Special for This Job?

As the very true saying goes, you cannot hide anything from a horse. Whatever feelings you bring into their space, they will mirror back to you, creating the perfect, non-verbal, biofeedback loop. And mustangs, having lived wild and free, have a heightened sensitivity and flight or fight response over domesticated horses. Mustangs also experience great trauma at the hands of humans in the capture process, and this makes them ideal for an EFP program.

Veterans, First Responders & Wild Mustangs EFP Program
Mustangs Rescued from Slaughter at Evanescent Mustang Rescue & Sanctuary in Sherman, TX

While interacting with a horse, you are not thinking about your past trauma or worrying about the future but are required to remain calm. Working with a horse, and especially a mustang, requires you to be 100% present with your own feelings which teaches self-regulation in a way traditional talk-therapy can’t.

Also, a horse’s heart has an electromagnetic field five times greater than that of a human. To understand how this is relevant to helping with trauma responses, read: Cardiac Coherence: The Inner Power that Horses Reveal to Us. This is wonderful information for anyone considering EFP.

The participants will work with mustangs who were rescued from slaughter who are also battling a variety of issues. These horses have depression, anxiety, and PTSD after being traumatically rounded up, separated from their families, and forced to try and integrate into a new life that is different from anything they’ve previously experienced. The Veterans and first responders will not only be learning new coping skills by working with the mustangs but will also be helping them to learn to trust humans which will help them get adopted.

Veterans Learning Horse Skills at Divine Equine Therapeutic Riding Center in Sherman, TX
Veterans Learning Horse Skills at Divine Equine Therapeutic Riding Center in Sherman, TX

Specifics About This New EFP Program in North Texas for Veterans & First Responders

This new program at Divine Equine Therapeutic Riding Center, called Veterans & War Horses, is an experiential therapeutic program designed to create a powerful experience for each group participant. It includes 20 hours total, consisting of 2 hours per week for 10 weeks. Rather than talking one-on-one with a therapist in an office, the course offers an outdoor setting combining a trauma-focused psychotherapist, and a PATH International Certified instructor.

Veteran Learning to Ride at Divine Equine Therapeutic Riding Center in Sherman, TX
Veteran Learning to Ride at Divine Equine Therapeutic Riding Center in Sherman, TX

Veterans & War Horses is customized based on participant needs with modifications for disabilities and all needed equipment is provided. EFP is designed to help reduce trauma responses while learning self-regulation, mindfulness, boundaries, confidence, and trust. The psychotherapist assists the participant in recognizing their triggers, emotional responses, and releasing toxic trauma they may be holding onto.

The first few sessions are focused on trust building while evaluating the participant’s horse knowledge and comfort level, which will include basic horse care and groundwork exercises (horse behaviors, grooming, leading horses), before moving on to the next step of mounting and riding. Veterans and first responders may graduate after their first course or request to return for another 10-week session, depending on their progress.


Divine Equine Therapeutic Riding Center
2822 Luella Rd, Sherman, TX 75090

Sign-up Now

If you are interested in being sponsored, please officially register as a new rider here:
At the bottom of the form, where it asks the days and times you are available, select all that apply. And where it asks, “What Program are you Interested in” select BOTH the Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy and Veteran Programs. Candace Ray, the program’s director, or someone on her behalf, will contact you in the not-too-distant future to coordinate with you.

Donate Now

If you are interested in helping support this program and the efforts of these two organizations, you can learn more about them and donate by visiting their websites.
Evanescent Mustang Rescue & Sanctuary, Inc.

Divine Equine Therapeutic Riding Center

To specifically support this program donate using this link:

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