FAIRFIELD, IDAHO — Idaho Horse Therapy, Inc. hosted their first Re-Boot Camp® event the week of 28 September – 4 October and saw overwhelming success with a group of 8 veterans.
By the final day, no participants reported less than 40% improvement in their psychological well-being, and some reported as much as 70% improvement (taking one to self-described full-recovery). One participant said of the experience, “In one week, I have gotten more relief than 20 years of therapy of the traditional style.”
Founder and Executive Director of Idaho Horse Therapy Johnny Urrutia attributes the success to the unique four-modality approach, which incorporated Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP), Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Community Resiliency Model (CRM) and Tai Chi. Urrutia elaborates, “The EMDR gives them a way to unlearn reactions to their experiences and memories that aren’t useful to them, and relearn new ways for their brain to process them. EAP helps them to process those changes, and gives them a chance to learn metaphorically about what they may be doing that isn’t working in their human relationships. CRM is the educational piece: it helps them to understand what has been going on in their brains and bodies, and gives them a skillset that they can take with them to help anchor them when they return to the ‘regular world’ outside of the calm environment we’ve tried to provide them while they’re with us at Camp. Tai Chi is an integral part of that environment. It gives them a chance to look inside themselves for peace and self-love.”
Though Idaho Horse Therapy is based in Shoshone, Idaho, Re-Boot Camp® was held at the Intermountain Christian Camp in Fairfield. Urrutia explained, “We are not religiously affiliated in any way, but it was a beautiful facility in a gorgeous setting. They took great care of us and we look forward to working with them again for the next Re-Boot Camp.” Urrutia hopes to have funding in place for another camp by Spring 2015.
This first “pilot program” was funded entirely by Glanbia Foods, Inc., who contributed $40,000.00 to the nonprofit at their annual Charity Challenge in August. Idaho Horse Therapy Co-Director Karla Davis said, “We can’t overstate the role that Glanbia played in putting this together. We’ve had the dream in place for a long time, but to get the caliber of professionals that we knew we needed and to give these servicemen the experience we believe they deserve, we needed something to put the legs under us. Glanbia’s donation did that.”
Davis went on, “If I hadn’t been there to be a part of this experience, I’m not sure I would have believed the difference we can make with this program. The statistics are staggering, and we’ve all heard them: veterans commit suicide at a rate of nearly one every hour. As many as 30% return from current military engagements with PTSD. It’s a tremendous feeling, not just believing but now knowing that we can do something about it.”
Each participant was enthusiastic that they would recommend it to other veterans, one saying, “I feel every vet that I know should experience Re-Boot Camp.”
The events rely entirely on private funding, and Urrutia hopes to host as many as 15 per year in years to come. “We planned on a dozen guys for the first one, and a few fell through. But if we had 12-15 each time from here on, and did 15 per year, we could be restoring over 200 lives every year. What could possibly be worth more than that?”
Those interested in contributing to or participating in a Re-Boot Camp® should visit www.idahoREBOOTcamp.com. Video interviews and testimonials from staff and participants, and a full up-close look at Re-Boot Camp® will be available there by the end of October.