Sometimes those who are considered heroes, wear saddles.
A local nonprofit, Hoof Beats for Heroes, was born from the dream of a single mind, Tiffany Zeitouni. Her first responder/Air Force veteran father suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, inspiring Zeitouni to found the nonprofit.
Taking over the BLORA Ranch stable area last year, which had been out of service for three years, Zeitouni has systematically revitalized the area into a flourishing pasture for her 15 rescue horses to free graze.
Hoof Beats for Heroes is dynamic in the services offered, not only are they a ranch in which gives lessons and pony rides, they offer therapeutic rides for people seeking therapy for depression, PTSD, anxiety and much more.
Each horse with a different journey of their own.
Some were donated, some rescued, some retired from police and rescue forces and others having disabilities of their own. Much like their riders, the horses also have their own personalities, allowing the horses and riders to sync energies and pick each other in their riding sessions.
Apart from lessons and therapeutic rides, the ranch offers romantic trail rides for you and your sweetheart and is open as a wedding venue.
Currently deployed Fort Hood soldier Johkez Odoms said the ranch helped him find his new coping mechanism.
"Going through a tough time trying to put every back together after getting out of a hospital for a serious reason. I was trying to find a new coping mechanism when I discovered the wonders of Hoof Beats for Heroes. At first it was just a visit for me to ride a horse and try something new. I ended up talking to Tiffany during the ride and it was just a great experience," said Odoms.
The nonprofit hopes to, in time, offer all service to veterans for free, though they need aid from sponsors for feats like that. Currently, they have Zeitouni, and her right-hand ranch man Darrell Smith, as well as several volunteers and community members.
However, the organization could always use an extra pair of helping hands so that their mission in aid many veterans can grow larger.
"Every day was like a different day at the ranch due to the family environment that we built... So if I would rate my overall experience at the ranch it would be amazing and outstanding and nothing could replace that," said Odoms.
Zeitouni also mentioned that its due to those around her that this is possible, and she wanted to thank the Grady Family for their equipment donations, and for their care for her.
For more information on the nonprofit visit their website.
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