TERRELL, Texas — Kae E's Riding Round-Up, a Kaufman County equine therapy center, recently celebrated 13 veterans and their dependents who completed their specialized Horses and Heroes equine therapy program.

The program, supported by a grant from the Texas Veterans Commission Fund for Veterans' Assistance, aims to help veterans who have suffered injuries, both physical and mental, to better their lives through building a relationship with the horse.

"Horses are incredible, majestic animals that are extremely sensitive to changes in humans, providing the client and the therapist instant and crucial insight into the client's thoughts and feelings, even when no words are spoken," according to the organization.

Jake E's Riding Round-Up held an Open House and celebration dinner for 13 veterans and dependents who completed the program over the course of this last year, Director of Operations Paige Courtney tells inForney.com.

The ceremony was held at The Oaks at Williams Creek on Saturday, June 12, 2021.

The Open House portion of the event allowed program participants to bring their families to the ranch and to meet the horses. The ceremony, at The Oaks, included dinner and the reading of the POW/MIA Table, testimonies, other veterans who have completed the program in the past, a guest speaker, and the buckle ceremony to present the buckles to all the veterans and their dependents we were there to celebrate, according to Courtney.

Jake E's Riding Round-Up has been provided equine-assisted therapeutic programs to adults and children with special needs in North East Texas since 2011. The organization has been awarded an additional grant to continue the Horses and Heroes program for the next grant cycle beginning July 1 through June 30, 2022.

The Horses and Heroes program provides, among other things: an integrated treatment plan with veteran, therapist, and Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH) certified Equine Specialist in Mental Health (ES); and treatment input is from the veteran, the therapist, the equine specialist, and the horse’s powerful nonverbal reactions and behaviors regarding the veteran’s unspoken emotional states.