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Putnam County Veterans Service Agency

Veterans SitRep News

Diary of a Horse Skeptic - January 2023

10 January 2023

Dear Diary, 
Hey Diary this is kinda my New Years story. The last Thursday in December was one of the best days of my year! I cannot contain my enthusiasm. I have to tell you what an outstanding way to end my year!!! 

When I first started this writing about my experience about The Equus Effect back in 2019 I talked about the last day of the program. It was magic. Each member of the cohort went into a round pen with a facilitator and a horse. The horses lead rope was removed and you preformed some 
disciplines with the horse under the guidance of the facilitator. I know Diary you are thinking big whoop! 

But is was a big WHOOP! I worked with a horse named Bo. Bo and I had a special bond but I have already told that story. I was able to lead Bo through these disciplines as if I were a horse expert. I hardly knew what I was doing but Bo knew and that was all we needed. 
Well on the last Thursday of the year for the second time since 2019 I was in a round pen with a horse. ( The first time Diary since 2019 was the Thursday before.) This time was 
different. I was in the round pen by myself. No facilitator by my side helping me through the disciplines. It was me and Duke. It was a big whoop! It was amazing! I have been telling everyone 
about it. People who have experienced Equus and people who have not. Actually standing in the grocery waiting to check out I told the lady just in front of me about the experience. No I did 
not that’s a lie. But I would tell a random stranger about me and Duke and Equus. I am sad that I can not go into more detail about what we do in the round pen. (Diary I am smiling while I am writing this). We want to keep it a surprise for others who take part in Equus. 
 Below is the last part of an article written by Lori Riley that appeared in the Hartford Current in 2022. Megan Castellano, who is now with Guardian Revival, and I traveled to Jane Strong’s farm in Sharon, Connecticut. Jane is the creator of Equus Effect. Maybe that excerpt captures Equus. 
I wish you horses! 


Megan Castellano is the executive director of the Mental Health Association in Putnam County, a non-profit which specializes in peer support. She went through the program to see what it was about and said she cried the first day she did it.“I don’t think you can appreciate the impact it will have 
on you, regardless if you’re a veteran or not,” Castellano said. “It puts you in touch with a lot of things you maybe wouldn’t be in touch with on a regular basis.”Horses are prey animals, constantlyscanning their environment for threats. Veterans and law enforcement personnel are trained to do that as well. But when horses recognize there is no threat, they go back to grazing.“ Megan will talk to me and tell me, ‘Go back to grazing, go back to grazing,’” Rohde said. “I’m a Vietnam veteran. My unit had written on their hats FIDO. That stood for, F*** It, Drive On. That’s been my motto.“After a while, you can’t drive on. So I have to [he breathed out] relax. And graze. I’m able to graze now.”

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