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Veteran Barn Door Project Helping America's Vets

Veteran Barn Door ProjectLocal war veterans are learning to overcome PTSD and traumatic brain injuries by working with horses through the Veteran Barn Door Project, a nonprofit organization.

“When I returned from Afghanistan in 2010, I had some serious PTSD,” said Steven DePalma, founder of the Veteran Barn Door Project. “I didn’t know it at the time. I was suffering from what’s known as survivor’s guilt.”

DePalma says he even attempted suicide, “spent some time in the VA. When I came out, I was feeling better but I went out to the barn one day, grabbed my favorite horse and from that day on, that’s all I did.”

Now, DePalma is using horsemanship to help his fellow veterans combat depression.

“A horse and a solider are so similar in their training styles.”

DePalma encourages veterans to do different activities with the horses to build balance and trust, two things he says can help heal the mind.

“It gives you a good sense of achievement and satisfaction when you can actually make that happen, when you get the horse to do what you set out to do” said Paul Whelan, a veteran who suffers from PTSD.

Whelan, who recently retired from the Army after 25 years of service, says he found a sense of calming and peace with the horses and his service dog, Ike.

“We’re used to having a connection with humans that sometimes doesn’t work out so well, but when you experience that with animals, and how unconditional love they give you, I think it will be great support for all veterans and I encourage them to get out and get involved.”

If you’re interested in getting help or donating to the cause, visit www.veteranbarndoor.com for more information.

-from www.winknews.com in Naples, Florida