Fannin Co. Veterans Ride Horses For Therapy - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Fannin Co. Veterans Ride Horses For Therapy

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FANNIN COUNTY, TX -- A riding accident left a horse owner unable to care for her animals, but with help from family members and volunteers, the animals now have a new purpose to help others heal.

Horse owner Barbara Perry loved riding horses, until one day five years ago, when she took the ride that turned out to be her last. "I got on for a three second ride and it just got out from under me and it broke my back," says Perry.

During her recovery, Perry turned to her family to care for the horses. "He fed them continuously until we could see if I was going to be able to get back up, but it turns out I have a spinal cord injury, so I'm not going to get back up walking," says Perry.

Family members decided not to let Perry's horse ranch near Lake Bonham go to waste. Instead, they turned into a place where others could ride. "We go on rides through the property, and we're away from all the cares except for just being on that horse," says Navy veteran Grady Chamberlain.

Military veterans have been coming to try the horses out. One also suffered a spinal cord injury, when he was in a car accident. "I was beating myself up about my disability, and being half the person I used to be," says Army veteran Rick Fletcher. "Now, getting to work with these horses makes me feel whole again."

"It's a peace for me that's like no other, I have always liked horses since I was a little kid," says Army veteran Jerry Beasley.

Another man who served in the Army heard about the program at the VA Hospital, and started helping. "We crossed paths and he told me about what was going on out here and I said, 'Hey, that sounds like something I want to do,'" says Matthew Evans, who is helping organize the Broken Wheel Ranch Project.

As the horses gallop through the field, Perry may be on the sidelines, but she is still enjoying every ride. "She's here almost every weekend with us, and she's watched this whole thing grow," says organizer Bradley Ingram, who is Perry's grandson.

"I love to be near them, I love my horses," says Perry.

On Tuesday, workers were building a new barn at the property. The group will hold a riding fundraiser on Saturday at noon at Caddo National Grassland and riders are invited to bring horses and come watch or participate. Riding is free to veterans and teens have also gotten involved. For more information, you may contact Matthew Evans at 903-227-6197 or Bradley Ingram at 903-486-2039.