Saratoga WarHorse helps veterans, prepares thoroughbreds for second and third careers

October 13, 2016 06:04 PM

TOWN OF SARATOGA - Bodie is six years old and he's already on his second career and preparing for a third.

These days the former thoroughbred racehorse is enjoying himself at Cricket Hill Farm.

This is where Saratoga War Horse helps veterans suffering from the stresses of war by connecting them with horses.

"It resets their emotional circuit breakers that have popped leaving them emotionally flatlined and disconnected from their families and friends," said Bob Nevins, founder of Saratoga WarHorse and a combat veteran of Vietnam.

Nevins says emotional breakthroughs are common in the more than 500 veterans who've connected with horses.

But it also helps the horse.

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Saratoga WarHorse says the connection happens because the animal and the veteran have so much in common.

"Both young when they start, they go into boot camp, they go into race training. They go off to war, they go off to races, they're both put in high anxiety environments," said board member David Cornell.

And Cornell says when they come here, both are preparing the other for life after.

In Bodie's case, in addition to his work for Saratoga WarHorse, he's training for a national competition in jumping, dressage and cross country. Cornell rides him in competition.

Bodie had 16 career starts as a thoroughbred. He raced twice at Saratoga.

He raced under the name Boss Daddy and even won at Aqueduct.

And now he's embarking on career number three. He'll compete in a national competition in Kentucky later this month with more than 300 retired thoroughbreds.

The logical next step for a horse and an organization trying to improve the future for veterans and the animals who help them.

"It's the most rewarding thing I've ever done for fellow veterans," said Nevins.



Mark Mulholland

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