Windhaven Therapeutic Riding (WHTR) offers a variety of equine relationship building experiences for all Veterans and Active-Duty service members who suffer from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Military Sexual Trauma (MST).
For individuals interested, please email us at
or call us at 503-422-1692
All clients regardless of horse experience start with Session 1 and progress individually. Some Veterans decide to remain on the ground, some progress to riding and some become volunteers to help other Veterans. The WHTR program is not about teaching someone to ride a horse. It is about using the relationship with the horse to retrain the brain to overcome the effects of Traumatic Brain Injury and PTSD.
The program consists of up to three sessions of 12 - 13 weekly encounters with their equine partner.
Once Veterans have completed each session, they may become a volunteer, become involved in other equine activities in the region (horsemanship lessons in a variety of disciplines, back country horsemen, horse ownership), or explore opportunities for adventures on horseback. We will assist Veterans helping them connect with organizations that offer these opportunities.
WHTR provides riders with a solid framework in a fun and safe environment. Instructors hold a variety of certifications. Volunteers participate in ongoing learning and all volunteers must pass a background check conducted by the Washington State Patrol.
There is no cost to the Veteran or active duty personnel for these services.
WHTR is a VA Vendor and is a non-profit supported by community donors.
12 - 13 Weeks
This is the introductory session and consists of understanding horse behavior and developing a connection with the horse on the ground. It is this connection with the horse that is responsible for the benefits of Natural Lifemanship in helping heal the traumatized brain. At WHTR, to expedite this connection, the horse participates in choosing their Veteran partner. This session forms the foundation for all that follows.
12 - 13 Weeks
Development of the relationship with the horse continues. As the Veteran strengthens the connection with the horse, it is possible to progress to working outside the round pen and over obstacles without the use of a lead line connecting them. Some Veterans have little interest in riding while others begin to explore mounting and riding in this series of lessons. For those who wish to begin to ride, they are gradually introduced to mounting and riding with connection to the horse as a partner. Initially all riding is done with an equine specialist leading the horse while the Veteran focuses on the connection. As the Veteran strengthens the connection with the horse, it is possible to progress to working with the horse in the round pen and over obstacles without the use of a lead line connecting them.
12 - 13 Weeks
The Veteran progresses to riding independently and maintaining connection and communication with the horse in the arena and outside the arena. Rhythmic riding to music at a walk and trot foster a greater connection with the horse partner. Maintaining the connection with the horse while doing more advanced tasks helps with the integration of the brain. The Veterans begins to explore trail riding in the local area under the supervision of a trail instructor. Since these rides are dependent on weather, these trail rides may not occur on a regular basis.