The support from the First Nonprofit Foundation was for the purchase of a used 6-horse trailer. The foundation provided the entire amount needed to purchase the trailer. Routine maintenance/title transfer/insurance for this vehicle was all handled by the organization and has been sustained through donations in our operating budget.
We are so grateful for the assistance to make this purchase possible. The trailer was most urgently needed to attend Trail to Zero – a 20-mile ride in NYC and DC to raise awareness for veteran suicide. This was the second year BraveHearts has ridden 20-miles in NYC and the first in DC. We have continued to learn a lot from these rides. We have learned that the public has a strong interest in the ride and wants to help. We have also learned that veterans continue to want to participate on the ride and received an influx of veterans across the country wanting more information on the ride and on equine-assisted services. This year we hope to raise more awareness by putting out more marketing strategies on the event. Additionally, the trailer was used to care for our 33 therapy horses on the property and to ensure that we readily have a trailer available if they should need.
First Nonprofit’s support allowed us to bring more veterans and horses on Trail to Zero in 2018. We were able to take 11 veterans and one gold star father to DC and NYC. It was also important to us to have the trailer to transport horses between our two facilities as well as to emergency veterinarian visits.
In 2018, BraveHearts served over 1,000 participants in over 28,000 sessions. Funding helps the entire organization as our therapy horses mean everything to the people we serve and to us at BraveHearts for without them we would be unable to provide services.
BraveHearts services offer an alternative approach to therapy through healing horsemanship. We offer veterans services at no cost and allow them to find healing. BraveHearts is an industry leader for providing services to veterans and with over 800 veterans served in 2018, we continue to see interest, acceptance, and a desire from the veteran community to enter our farm gates. Veterans are eager to learn more and 12 veterans, with BraveHearts mentorship, have even become instructors so they can teach fellow veterans how to ride. There are many ways that BraveHearts is unique but our diverse services, exceptional therapy horses and focused model are some of the top reasons.
Purchasing the 6-horse trailer gave us the peace of mind and reliability for hauling our herd. We have two facilities about 15 minutes from one another and often haul horses between the two for various events such as clinic and horse shows. Whether hauling between facilities, to trail rides, across country, or to the vet, the trailer has allowed us to make each trip with comfort for our herd. Trail to Zero made a difference in the lives of the individuals who attended the ride. Trail to Zero was first developed after veterans constantly speaking of the benefits of equine-assisted services and many attributing it to giving their life purpose and helping them to not be one of the 20 veterans a day who commits suicide. Trail to Zero was designed with the help of veterans for veterans to offer a solution for the many veterans who question the value of their life and see no light at the end of the tunnel. For the veterans who attended Trail to Zero it has provided a friendship and comradery as many veterans continue to text, call, and rely on one another as a lifeline. Trail to Zero is more than a 20-mile ride, it is a movement, which through each footfall sparks a much-needed conversation in our country and offers a solution, a light at the end of the tunnel, for veterans facing crises. The results of the ride were measured through a survey as well as a letter written by each veteran and support staff who attended the ride.