Non-profit BraveHearts connects veterans with horses

Updated: Jun. 29, 2022 at 9:58 PM CDT
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ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) - A non-profit focused on helping veterans find purpose after their service made its annual stop in Ardmore on Wednesday.

For many veterans life after they’ve returned home from service can be a whole new challenge, and for veterans like Alexander Rodriguez the connections he’s made with people and animals through the non-profit BraveHearts has made that challenge a lot easier.

“I was in a really dark spot,” said Rodriquez. “I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life, didn’t know if I... I had no drive, nothing. I was just trying to get by.”

One day Rodriguez heard BraveHearts president and CEO Meggan Hill-McQueeney on the radio talking about her organization which focuses on connecting veterans with horses.

“We give veterans an opportunity to safely get to know horses and then really take them to wherever they want to go,” said Hill-McQueeney.

Rodriguez decided to get involved and hasn’t been the same since.

“I’m doing things that I never dreamed of,” said Rodriquez. “Its such a big part of my life now, its pretty much all I look forward to all year.”

Rodriguez and his fellow veterans have been learning competitive cutting and will showcase what they’ve learned at the National Cutting Horse Association competition in July.

“Its awesome to see how far they’ve come with their horsemanship, to see them take hold of a cow to see them work it for 2 and a half minutes,” said Hill-McQueeney.

Even though they’re all hoping to win at the competition the process that gets them there is what BraveHearts is all about.

“Coming out here and doing this, to compete and learning so much has just brought something out of me that I didn’t think I’d ever have again,” said Rodriquez.

BraveHearts serves over a thousand veterans annually and Rodriguez wants to see even more get involved and experience what he has.

“If you’re in a bad spot come on out, we’ll get you on a horse,” said Rodriquez. “There’s just something about Bravehearts that’s just simply magical.”

You can find more information on the BraveHearts organization here.

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