Wounded Warriors Find Peace With R.O.C.K.’s Horses For Heroes Program

R.O.C.K., Ride On Center for KidsMy dad, MSG Philip Speasmaker, passed away from cancer in 2003, and for me it was a devastating blow. At the time I didn’t think it would be because we were never that close. Dad didn’t let anybody get too close to him. I didn’t think I would miss him so much, but after a short time passed, I found out that his passing left a huge hole in my life. A wound that I didn’t know was there, and one that took years to find and to heal. I would give anything for just 5 more minutes with him.

Dad was a quiet man when he was at home, and would sit for hours by himself reading some book on history (his passion), smokingR.O.C.K. Ride On Center for Kids cigarettes or just staring into space. I now realize he was still surviving, to the best of his ability, the horror of war. Dad was a combat air veteran of both World War II and Korea. I am sure now he had to live and relive those experiences every day. Towards the end, in the last few years of his life, he found great satisfaction, and I think some peace, from watching birds on his deck and taking care of a little Yorkshire terrier he rescued named Little Bit.

We are all relieved, grateful and happy when our fighting men and women return home from our wars, but the blush comes off of the rose quickly for those soldiers when they have to adjust to peace after so much brutality. The damage these warriors deal with is often physical due to the unbelievable violence they faced, but there are other wounds they suffer and that need to be treated as well. Thankfully, my dad survived those wars, came home, raised a family, and was given the chance to live a full life, but he was forever changed. [Read more…]

R.O.C.K., Ride On Center for Kids – Your Williamson County Neighbors Making Life Better For Kids And Wounded Warriors

R.O.C.K., Ride On Center for KidsIt wasn’t until I got back to my office and started doing additional background work on this post that I realized a couple of things. One, my understanding was off the mark on the type of therapy I was observing that afternoon at R.O.C.K., Ride On Center for Kids. I referred to it as Equine Therapy several times while I was doing the interviews. It was not Equine Therapy; it was Hippotherapy. They are not the same thing although a horse is definitely a part of both therapies. I will go into more detail about why that is important in a little bit. For now, I will quickly move on to the second thing I realized, and that was that nobody yanked a knot in my tail for calling it the wrong thing. I would blather on about Equine Therapy this and Equine Therapy that, and my patient interviewees would just smile and use the correct terminology in their response. I know this sounds a little touchy-feely, but I understand now they were going out of their way to be kind – to me.

I really think that this point is crucial in any discussion concerning an organization like R.O.C.K. After all, many of the people that they take care of are dealing with disabilities they have had to put up with their entire life. The people that R.O.C.K. work with have likely dealt with a lot of people who were, shall we say, less than patient with them. I realized that if the R.O.C.K. staff I interviewed could be patient and kind to an ignorant stranger like me, they were going to treat their clients just as well. From what I saw during my short time there, and from what I learned speaking with a parent, this assumption is accurate.

R.O.C.K., Ride On Center for Kids has been one of your Williamson County neighbors for about fifteen years. That first year’s beginning involved one horse and four kids. They now have a herd of around 30 horses and see way more than 200 regular clients a year. They are not only working with kids, but they have also started a veteran’s program to help our wounded warriors called Horses for Heroes. I had a chance to meet and speak briefly with one of those veterans, and I intend to dig a little deeper into that program on another post. [Read more…]