Wounded Soldiers Use 'Horse Therapy' to Heal

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America's wounded soldiers need help adjusting to regular life when they return home.  

Some are getting that aid through what's called horse therapy. And it turns out, the soldiers who are helping them with that process are finding healing as well. 

Staff Sgt. Mike Cain, who lost his leg in Iraq, is just beginning to use his new prosthetic leg. Riding a horse teaches him how to walk again.

Larry Pence is with the Caisson Platoon Equine Assisted Programs.

"When a horse moves as they walk, their hip movement is the same as yours and mine," Pence said. "We want them to get in synch with the horse."

Cain feels himself getting stronger with the so-called horse therapy.

"It's a huge core workout. You have to keep yourself stable and balanced enough to stay on the horse," Cain said.

Riding horses helps the wounded warriors emotionally, too. Vincent Short, who suffered a brain injury in Iraq, said it helps alleviate his depression.

"This right here is a great big confidence gain," Short said.

But it doesn't just help the wounded soldiers, it also helps their trainers.

That's because they are the Army's distinguished Caisson Platoon, who until now, have only had the solemn duty of laying to rest their fallen brothers and sisters at Arlington National Cemetery. This additional job of offering hope to their living comrades is welcome relief.

"Every day we deal with the funerals and it can be difficult to mentally handle at times," Cpl. Christopher Leonard with the Old Guard Caisson Platoon said. So being able to work with the wounded warriors provides a mental release."

It's a win-win for soldiers trying to heal from the ravages of war.

*Originally aired October 27, 2009.

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Lorie  Johnson

Lorie Johnson

CBN News Medical Reporter

Lorie Johnson reports on the latest information about health and wellness. Since medicine is constantly changing, she makes sure CBN News viewers are up-to-date on what they need to know in order to live a healthy life.  Follow Lorie on Twitter @LorieCBN and "like" her at Facebook.com/LorieJohnsonCBN.