Horse-Powered Therapy

Equine therapy, or horse therapy, offers great results for north Florida Veterans and their families.


Once A Soldier and our neighbor, HorsePlay Therapy, have joined forces to offer equine-assisted therapy for Veterans in the St. Augustine, the north Florida area and beyond. The program, Rise Up for Veterans, is also available via Once A Soldier for the immediate family members who survived a Veteran suicide. Use the form to get started.

Horses in the hands of their teams work magic. Our Veterans coming home from Afghansistan and Iraq are highly-vulnerable to PTSD. Equine assisted therapy, or therapy while on horseback, has proven results because there’s magic in the horse’s movements.


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Rise Up Information

Rise Up for Veterans uses Equine-Assisted Therapy (EAT) to help veterans suffering from PTSD and wounded warriors. Offering therapies that incorporate the movement of the horse, horsemanship activities, horse-human interaction, and mental health therapy in an open air equine environment. Sessions include mounted and non-mounted activities that support post-traumatic growth, mental health wellness, and improve the overall quality of life for veterans and their families.

Therapist, Patient and Horse Working as One

Using equine movement as a treatment strategy, the horse’s movement influences the patient, and the patient actively responds to the movement. The therapist directs the movement of the horse, analyzes the patient’s response, and adjusts the treatment accordingly. The movement of the horse creates a combination of sensory, motor, and neurological input. This effective strategy is integrated into the treatment plan to help each patient reach their goals.

Participants learn to respect the horse’s instincts, thereby reflecting on the congruence of feelings and actions, and they help the horse respond positively to an unfamiliar object. Alertness can be positive and necessary for both horses and people, the program helps veterans to contain it, so it does not generate severe anxiety or the desire to isolate themselves from others.

About Our Partner HorsePlay Therapy

Licensed therapists treat a variety of diagnoses including autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, developmental delays, genetic disorders, attention deficit disorder, and more. The therapy horses are carefully chosen for their temperament and the type of movement they produce. All are specially trained in how to perform during a therapy session and are handled by experienced horse handlers.

Rise Up for Veterans will continue this tranformative therapy experience for Veterans in need. This program has a seperate barn location just for Veterans that is just 5 miles from the barn for kids.


What is equine-assisted therapy? Equine assisted therapy, or EAT, is a behavioral therapy that incorporates the riding, caring and management of a horse as a central component of the session.
What are the benefits of equine or horse therapy? The magic of equine therapy, and one of the main benefits, is that the patient is almost unaware of the therapy that’s being applied to them. They are so involved with their relationship and handling of the horse that there’s no why attached to the what am I doing?



20-year-old Quarter Horse

Rebel spent most of his life as a barrel racer. He now enjoys life as a therapy horse and is always ready for hugs and attention. He is as sweet as they come, and a therapy favorite.

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