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Horses enrich lives of Veterans at West Texas VA

Horses and other animals have a unique way of connecting with people, and that connection could be seen in the eyes and faces of the Veterans at West Texas VA.

That was the scene when “40 Something Cowgirls” of Big Spring, Texas, and Pam Kearney, owner of the miniature horse ministry, “It’s Alright to be Little Bitty,” from Lamesa, Texas, rolled onto the campus with their horses and miniatures.

Army Veteran James Stuteville and Biscuit

“I’ve enjoyed horses my whole life,” said Army Veteran Lawrence Wheat. “I grew up around horses and got so used to riding them. I’m glad I got to see horses out here today.”

Wheat, 76, from Nixon, Texas, along with more than 20 Veterans from the Community Living Center, got to meet, feed, brush and even take walks around the track with geldings, miniature horses and even a miniature donkey on the campus.

“Experiences like this make you happy.”

“Experiences like this really make you happy and takes your mind off the stress of the day,” Wheat said as he brushed a horse.

Pictured above, Army Veteran Larry Butler enjoys a window visitor at the George H. O’Brien Jr. VA.

Army Veteran Carlos Longoria takes a trip on the track with Biscuit

Medical Center Director Keith Bass echoed the sentiments of those gathered, expressing his praise to the organizations supporting Veterans. “This experience brought immense joy to our hearts. We are deeply appreciative of community partners like the 40-Something-Cowgirls who consistently come forward to organize activities that enrich our Veterans lives,” Bass said.

It was heartwarming to witness the interactions between Veterans and these gentle animals as they soaked up the sunshine and offered treats and gentle brushings for the visiting equines. These moments may seem fleeting, but they have a profound impact on the well-being of these Veteran residents, providing them with companionship and joy.

“Beyond the immediate enjoyment, events like these play a crucial role in integrating our residents into the broader community,” Bass said. He also highlighted the significance of such interactions in providing a sense of calm, peacefulness and connection for our residents. “Through these activities, we aim to break down the barriers of hospitalization and foster a sense of belonging within our community. These interactions are vital in maintaining the mental and emotional well-being of our residents, providing them with moments of purpose.”

West Texas VA is committed to continuing these events and fostering greater community engagement. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all our volunteers and partners who contribute to the enrichment of our residents’ lives.

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