Lowcountry nonprofit offers horse therapy to veterans, others suffering from trauma

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WADMALAW ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – Veterans in the Lowcountry are receiving some support from our four-legged friends.

Lowcountry Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (LEAP) is a non-profit organization that provides therapy through horses and licensed mental health professionals.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Kathleen Broughan is the Executive Director of LEAP. She said the organization is available for anyone with trauma including children with abuse history, first responders, 911 operators and veterans. Participants get to spend time and interact with the horses.

“We have research that shows when people are interacting with horses, their blood pressures, their heartrate, and their cortisol levels all go down. And their oxytocin, which is that feel-good hormone, goes up,” explained Broughan.

On Saturday, LEAP held an event at Bugby Plantation to honor veterans who participate in the program. The event was also a celebration of the partners who make LEAP possible, and the 10-year-anniversary of LEAP’s location at Bugby Plantation.

Michelle Martin is a U.S. Navy veteran who participates in LEAP. She said programs like LEAP help bring veterans together and give them something to look forward to.

“It helps me get out of the house,” Martin said. “I think the three hardest things in life, every day, is just to get up, and then suit up, and then show up. And then after that, it’s not that bad.”

To sign up for LEAP click here. You can also call 843-723-0659, and leave a message.

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