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    Injured Veterans Equine Program

    Lava Lake Injured Veterans Equine Program (LIVE)

    Since 2012 the Lava Lake Injured Veterans Equine (“LIVE”) Program has offered injured veterans a rare opportunity to experience the benefits of equine therapy in a wilderness setting. Accompanied by their Veterans Administration therapists, veterans travel to Lava Lake Ranch where they ride horses and camp on a working ranch and in the backcountry for six days.  In the past five years the program has served women and men living with traumatic brain injury, PTSD, military sexual trauma and other physical and psychological challenges. Past participants have served the United States in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf, and Vietnam.

    The LIVE program was developed in consultation with recreational therapists from the Veterans Administration offices in Palo Alto,California and Boise, Idaho. Participants must complete an equine therapy program to acquire basic horsemanship skills prior to coming to the Ranch.  Where appropriate and indicated therapeutically, a spouse or other family member may accompany a veteran.

    Lava Lake Injured Veterans Equine Program (LIVE)

    The LIVE program has these goals:

    • build confidence and self-esteem
    • increase problem-solving skills
    • reduce anxiety
    • improve overall health and physical capabilities from regular exercise
    • enhance flexibility in dealing with unanticipated developments and setbacks
    • improve socialization skills
    • exercise cognitive skills in trip planning, including equipment and clothing requirements and travel logistics
    • remove injured veterans from their day-to-day milieu and place them in a completely different environment where they can benefit from the healing power of nature
    • have fun!

    Response to the Program by the veterans who participate is overwhelmingly positive. The VA therapists note measurable improvements in the veterans’ Self-Empowerment and Trust (“SET”) scores after completing LIVE Program sessions. In 2015, we welcomed back two veterans who participated in 2014 and were working toward certification as Therapeutic Riding Instructors. This is a testament to these vets’ determination to better their own lives and to give back to others. We believe participation in the LIVE Program played a role in the development of the life skills necessary to fulfill their dreams.

    Tax-deductible contributions to the program may be made by check payable to:

    Lava Lake Institute, P O Box 2249, Hailey, ID 83333

    P. O. Box 2249 • Hailey, Idaho 83333 • Phone 208.788.1378 • Fax 208.788.1264 • info@lavalakeinstitute.org