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Bringing Awareness to Equine Facility for Veterans

Bravehearts


Lone Star Ag Credit was among the numerous exhibitors and sponsors of the recent Western Heritage Classic in Abilene that helped welcome a special group to the event — BraveHearts, a therapeutic riding center that offers free, equine-assisted activities to U.S. veterans and their families.

During the event in Abilene, Lone Star Ag Credit staff worked with local media and other business to help raise awareness of the nonprofit's mission. Over the weekend, several saddles and other items of tack were donated from local organizations and businesses — including Lone Star Ag Credit — to be used at a BraveHearts riding facility in Illinois.

In addition to a saddle donation from the lending cooperative, BraveHearts staff and veterans were also honored guests on the Lone Star Ag Credit trailer at the matched horse races, where they were recognized.

"I first heard of BraveHearts from Jeff Payne, a Texas bit and spur maker, who had met them at the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity this past year," said Jason Pettit, credit office president in Lone Star Ag Credit's Abilene office. "After learning more about the group, I felt compelled to help out and thought it was a great way for us to serve our veterans."

As Pettit learned, BraveHearts reaches out to service men and women from all walks of life, and from across the nation. In 2015, BraveHearts provided 10,555 sessions to 534 veterans. The nonprofit offers a variety of innovative programs to veterans, including therapeutic horseback riding, therapeutic carriage driving, trail riding, mounted drill team events, foundation horsemanship, mustang gentling, cutting cattle and all-veteran horse shows.

"We heard firsthand some of the vets' stories and how the program is changing them and providing value in their lives," Pettit said. "We were just really glad we could help host this group. West Texas opened their hearts to the BraveHearts that weekend in a special way."