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Veteran's Club puts on equine therapy event for military kids

The club checked in with the kids after its last event this summer, to talk to them about how this school semester has been going amidst the pandemic.

TAYLORSVILLE, Ky. — Being around horses can bring peace and comfort – and can have a therapeutic affect.

Children of servicemen and women spent their afternoon grooming and working with horses in an event in Taylorsville put on by the Veteran’s Club.

Mattie Hauswald, 16, is very familiar with horses and assisted with the day.

“I can go out to the barn so upset and I’ll come back happier than I’ve ever been,” said Hauswald. “It’s just something about the horses.”

Saturday she got to share that feeling with children of military service members during an equine therapy session.

It’s something near and dear to her, as she is the daughter of an Iraq combat veteran.

“Being at school when you meet someone you’re not like, ‘hey my name is Mattie and I’m a child of a veteran,’” she said. “That’s not something that normally comes up in conversation.”

But in the barn, Hauswald gets to make conversation with other kids like her. 

Those conversations are exactly what Mattie’s father, Jeremy Harrell, hoped for when he organized this military child event.

“It’s really important to us that military children leave the family and are set up to succeed beyond that,” Harrell said.

The Veteran’s Club hosted a similar equine event this summer before school started. Now, Harrell wanted to host another to check in with the kids, and give them a chance to talk about their year so far with others who understand them.

“We want to make sure they have clear vision and we want to make sure if there’s any internal challenges they face throughout their life being in that military child environment that we work through that for them," Harrell said.

It’s something that has benefited Mattie, and now she gets to help give back to these kids who are in a similar position as herself.

“Being able to make conversation with the kids who I do know are veterans’ children and getting to meet them and being friends, reaching out, staying connected with those people really means a lot,” Hauswald said.

The Veteran’s Club is also looking for some Christmas cards this holiday season.

Ricky Long, better known as Santa, is collecting cards for WWII veterans and will ride his motorcycle all around Kentucky to deliver them.

This year WWII veterans didn’t get to do some of the events they normally would, like the Honor Flight, so Long launched this project to bring them a little joy this season.

You can drop the cards off with or without postage at 501 Main St, in Shelbyville Dec. 12.

►Contact reporter Rose McBride at rmcbride@whas11.com or on Facebook or Twitter.

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