Colo. retreat offers therapy on horseback for military couples
They’re back from the battlefield, and facing a new fight: the fight to keep their marriage together. The divorce rate among military couples shot up more than 40 percent during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. But a Colorado group is working to help keep those couples together.
At a dude ranch near Granby in Grand County, Project Sanctuary conducts what they call “recreational therapy” using horses.
There’s something about horses, and cowboy hats, and the great Colorado outdoors that seems to be working wonders for the military husbands and wives who need a break from it all.
“It’s extremely important to take away the cell phones, the daily stresses, to let them reconnect as a couple,” said Heather Ehle, Executive Director and founder of Project Therapy.
At the YMCA of the Rockies Snow Mountain Ranch, they invite soldiers and their wives for six day retreats, totally free of charge, to help them ease back into civilian life once they’ve come home from war.
“We see a lot of stressed families. We see families that need a break. They’re dealing with depression, they’re dealing with insomnia, they’re dealing with lots of things that they need to get done, and not a lot of support,” Ehle said.
The soldiers say it helps.
“I mean they really get you out here to forget about your issues and problems and just have a good time,” said Iraq veteran Michael San Miguel, who attended a retreat earlier this month.
This trip has recharged his batteries, and reenergized his marriage. Things have been rough since he got home from his last of three deployments to Iraq, where he was exposed to 18 I.E.D. blasts that left him with a traumatic brain injury, anxiety, anger and depression.
“Everybody understands here, so they understand what we’re going through, what we’ve been through, so we can talk about anything over here and they understand,” San Miguel said.
Of course, so many soldiers have to go home to real world problems that no American hero should face.
“It’s hard when you hear their refrigerator is empty, it’s hard when you hear that they can’t get the medical appointments and the therapy that they need,” Ehle said.
But for these few days, up in the mountains, they can forget about all of those problems, and get away from it all. While getting closer to the ones they love.
Project Sanctuary also offers classes on marriage and finance, as well as retreats for the entire family.
To learn more about Project Sanctuary, and how to attend one of their retreats… CLICK HERE: http://projectsanctuary.us/