From underdogs to healers: Mustang Forces uses equine therapy to help others

BENTON CITY, Wash. – Wendy Davies always imagined a time like this.

“Pinching myself, am I still dreaming of having mustangs?” she laughed.

There’s something about these majestic horses that Wendy just can’t resist.

“I’ve just always loved mustangs because they just represented the wild west. I’m also kind of an underdog rooter, so I’m always cheering for the underdog, and mustangs are kind of the underdog,” she said.

Davies has been collecting mustangs for years, and decided early on that one day she’d start a program where these once wild souls would help others.

That time has finally come.

“I’m loving it, it’s really really cool,” she said.

Mustang Force in Benton City is a nonprofit organization that offers equine therapy to veterans, first responders and health care workers. Although Wendy said they are open to anyone who’d like to learn a little more about horses or utilize their healing power.

“I was born with a hearing impairment so I was never able to join the military, so I feel like this is my way of being a part of it and giving back to that community,” Wendy said.

She explained that mustangs and veterans have similar qualities.

“They represent America, they represent freedom, they represent loyalty, they represent even being shunned by the American public then being loved by the American public,” she said.

It’s an eight-week program where Wendy and her colleague, Sierra who provides mental health help, teach groups the basics of horses while providing a calm and safe environment.

“Leading into them, or turning them, turning away, asking them to disengage their hip,” Wendy listed a couple of the skills they work on.

Don’t let these mustangs’ personalities fool you, Wendy said the horses challenge their riders; forcing them to address buried emotions and improve their problem-solving skills.

“Horses are a mirror of us, they reflect what emotion we have – so we could come in looking calm and happy but if inside we’re angry or upset the horses are going to react to that,” she explained.

Mustang Forces has only been open for about a year, but Wendy hopes to keep their momentum going.

“I’ve said it from day one, if we can just help one person – we’ve succeeded, and we’ve helped more that one person and I want to keep adding to that list.”

Mustang Forces is looking for businesses to sponsor riders, so they can keep their programs free. You can learn more on their website.

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