Cedarwood National Equine Therapy Resource Institute Seeks to Employ the Healing Power of Horses to Help Military Veterans, Cancer Patients, and Others in Need  

Cedarwood is creating a national network to raise awareness & help address growing suicide crisis among U.S. service members & veterans, among others.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 20, 2024) -- Located in Clifton Virginia, the Cedarwood National Equine Therapy Resource Center adds to the growth and value for horse therapy and wellness farms which already exist, ultimately serving the needs of military veterans, cancer patients, and their families.

Founded by Dr. Larry Fedewa, Kirsten Fedewa, Lyle Kraft, and others, the non-profit will be an apex of information and support for equine therapy, a developing industry focused on the horse-human connection. With new studies proving the multitude of benefits horse therapy provides, Cedarwood hopes to prevent suicides and alleviate PTS and traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

“The relationship between humans and horses has existed for virtually the entire duration of human history, but a new role for horses has recently been discovered – one that can literally save the lives of America’s veterans and others in need,” says Kirsten Fedewa, whose specialty public relations firm has worked to support veterans and veterans’ causes for nearly 20 years.

The psychological impact horses have on humans is increasingly supported by scientific research, suggesting that there are significant benefits provided by the unique horse-human connection.

Ms. Fedewa said Cedarwood hopes to showcase the healing powers of horses to help humans, and the horses themselves, by giving them a productive role in the advancement of society. This includes helping improve the physical, mental, and emotional health of U.S. military personnel, particularly those suffering from the visible and invisible wounds of war.

The suicide rate among American combat veterans is at least 17.5 suicides per day (Source: 2023 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Report, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs). A Joint Study conducted in 2022 by the America’s Warrior Partnership (AWP), Duke University and the University of Alabama, indicates that the number of veterans’ suicides could be 44 suicides per day.

“Horses help challenge the paradigm for veterans suffering from war trauma – and others battling lethargy and depression. Because of their size and beauty, horses exude a presence much bigger and gentler than the despair of the sufferer. Their intervention creates a pathway to bring that person into the present in which they can again experience beauty, joy, and warmth,” said Dr. Mark Richards, M.D., former White House medical and surgical consultant.

Women, who comprise the fastest growing group of veterans, are also deeply affected in part because of the unique challenges they face in service. Sadly, the suicide rate among these female warriors is much higher than their civilian counterparts. Veterans from American Indian and Alaska Native populations, who have an exemplary tradition of military service while serving at one of the highest rates per capita of any ethnic group, are experiencing the largest increase in suicides with a 51.8% increase. (Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 2023.)

Working with a forward-looking team with multi-disciplinary backgrounds, Cedarwood will also undertake ground-breaking pilot programs designed to dramatically improve the lives of military men and women.

“The remarkable horse-human connection can be an invaluable component of resilience training for America’s warriors, and an effective way to help create reconnection with society,” said mental health advocate and resilience trainer Kristen Christy, who was also 2018 Air Force Spouse of the Year,” and co-creator of the 9-8-8- Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

"In the face of ongoing challenges and uncertainties, it's more important than ever to prioritize our mental health and the well-being of our loved ones," said Christy.  “Horses can help bring that into focus. I look forward to being a part of this meaningful project.”

Due to its prime location near Washington D.C. and both horse and military venues in Virginia and nearby Maryland, Cedarwood will make the many benefits of horse therapy readily available to veterans and others.

With valuable and extensive backgrounds, Cedarwood’s team has the extensive skillset necessary to successfully execute the mission of the project. Among those on the Cedarwood team will be Julien Beaugnon, an internationally acclaimed equestrian, instructor, and manager who toured as a solo equestrian artist and the lead trainer of the renowned Cavalia International Company.

The five-acre property was built as an equine facility in 1996 and has been operating for 27 years, featuring a seven-stall barn, and functioning as a breeding, training, and boarding farm.

Cedarwood’s services will include coordinating various programs, highlighting their featured therapies, and acting as a pipeline, promoter, and scheduler for the industry, both in local and international spheres with existing connections in Ireland, France, and Germany.

Cedarwood’s impressive connections to the national media and streaming television worlds will provide opportunities for public awareness, publicity and fundraising centered on equine therapy.

Some of Ms. Fedewa’s collaborative partners have included American HumaneK9s for WarriorsSaratoga War Horse FoundationThe American Veterans CenterWarrior Canine Connection, and many more. She expects that they, along with Childrens’ Hospice International and other prominent charities, will form a core foundation of groups behind the initiative.

Background:

Dr. Larry Fedewa is a veteran horseman bringing his extensive experience as a business owner, author, and broadcast executive to the project. He has founded over 20 organizations during his career, author of three books and 500 weekly columns for the Washington Time, and presently appears on weekly podcasts on Torch TV and FF.org.

Kirsten Fedewa is the president of a boutique communications and public relations firm, Kirsten Fedewa & Associates, L.L.C. within which she has extensive experience at the highest levels of government, and in political, media, and entertainment circles. Since 2009, her firm has held bipartisan tributes at prominent venues with high-profile guest lists including military nonprofit partners for veterans and members of Congress. Her clients have also included bipartisan governors of the United States, the New York Times, The Atlantic, and the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Lyle Kraft aids with the planning, hiring, and execution of the program through his expertise in the recruiting and funding of colleges and foundations.

For more information, please call 202.365.6936 or visit: equinetherapycenter.org

Cedarwood is a Virginia nonprofit corporation. It is not a 501(c)(3) charity of foundation under the Internal Revenue Code. Our services and facilities are designed to assist the 501(c)(3) charities and foundations we partner with in alignment with their missions.

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