Nonprofit gives veterans with PTSD new hope through horse therapy

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SAN DIEGO -- A local nonprofit has moved to a new location where it hopes to expand its outreach efforts to veterans and people with special needs.

San Diego Therapeutic Horsemanship moved to Driftwood Ranch in September. The organization aims to help people grow and find healing through its horse-based programs. Clients say they have experienced physical, cognitive and social improvements through their work with the program.

"It really allowed me to regain myself," Navy veteran Danielle told FOX 5.

After serving from 2004 to 2009, Danielle said she hit a low point in her life. "PTSD really led me to a dark place and it was very challenging," Danielle said. "I was full of fear. I was afraid to leave my apartment, I was afraid to be around other people."

A program helped connect Danielle to San Diego Therapeutic Horsemanship, and from there things began turning around. "Being with the horses kept me grounded and in the present. I wasn't worried about the future and I wasn't worried about the past," Danielle said.

Her life has come full circle since then. Though Danielle has graduated from the program, she remains as involved with it as possible. On Sunday, she spoke at the group's fundraising event, where she shared her story. "I just know sharing my story will inspire other people," Danielle said.

For those who may be where Danielle was before finding help through San Diego Therapeutic Horsemanship, she had a special message. "There's hope. Definitely get help and reach out to anyone willing to help, to any program in San Diego. And if you have the opportunity to do something like therapeutic horsemanship, take advantage of it," she said.

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