As a young teen, I was raised in Argentina during what is known as the “Dirty War” of the 60’s and 70’s. The government was overtaken by a military dictatorship that blanketed the people with fear- and rightfully so. More than 30,000 people “disappeared” during this time, only later to be discovered murdered in mass graves.
Living in Argentina was a dangerous place to be, especially as an American. Every day as I left for school, my parents and I were aware I might not return. During the night, I would hear gunshots and bombs going off. The next morning revealed that terrorists had planted bombs in trash cans at bus and railroad stations. Almost everyone, including myself, used public transportation. Out of necessity, we learned to be suspicious of everyone and everything. The uncertainty and the ever-present danger took a huge toll on everyone. I was no exception.
When our family did return to the States, my PTSD was so bad that any loud noise would make me duck to the floor or run away as fast as I could.
It was a difficult way to live. Over the years, counseling helped me greatly. However, being close to nature and enjoying that peace and calm has always helped me the most. It brings one back to the pleasure and security of a simple life.
When I found Equine Heart Healer’s Ranch, I was provided with opportunities to ride horses, to volunteer to help around the farm, and to feed the animals. This helped me immensely.
I had ridden and been around horses in my youth in Argentina, so I already knew that being close to them and other animals is a true comfort. It is great therapy for anyone who has PTSD or other traumatic experiences. There’s a bond of innocence and trust that animals can give that is unlike any other. I had fun recording these times at Heart Healer’s in pictures and videos and sharing them with my daughters and grandsons.
I highly recommend that veterans, police officers or anyone who has experienced trauma visit the ranch and meet Sedina and Andrew Rutledge, the owners. They are a unique couple whose personal knowledge of PTSD combined with love and acceptance are surely as healing as the animals themselves!
Do yourself a favor and help around the farm, too. It will benefit you and others! Any time spent at the ranch is a great way of filling your mind with pleasant and peaceful reminders that life is beautiful and worthwhile.
Ware Shoals, SC