Three Doors Down contributes to mid-state therapy program for vets

Jun 15, 2017

Army veteran Matthew Lange and Floyd get in a workout at The Center of Equine Recovery for Veterans at Middle Tennessee State University's Horse Science Center in Murfreesboro June 14, 2017.
Credit WMOT

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  Army Veteran Matthew Lange is participating in a unique mid-state therapy program that has the vets riding and caring for horses.

On Wednesday morning, a couple of horse science students at Middle Tennessee State University put Lange and a horse named Floyd through a series of exercises at the school's Horse Science Center in Murfreesboro.

Lange is learning what it takes to control the horse. He’s also learning to control the sense of panic he struggles with following a couple of deployments to Iraq.

“I have a lot – hard time dealing with crowds and even areas where I know there’s going to be a lot of things going on and I can’t keep my eye on’em. And this has actually helped a lot with it."

Brian McSpadden is Lange’s Veteran’s Administration therapist. He says a lot of vets struggle with post-combat “hyper-vigilance.” Being hyper-aware of your surroundings keeps soldiers alive on the battlefield, but many can’t let it go when they return home.

“That’s one of the biggest things that I think the veterans get from this program is that bonding with the animals and learning how to (McSpadden takes breath and releases it.) de-stress, and relax and know that it’s OK.”

An MTSU horse science student looks on as Army vet Matthew Lange works with Floyd June 14, 2017.
Credit WMOT

The Veterans Recovery Center at Tennessee Valley Healthcare Systems and MTSU’s Center for Equine Recovery for Veterans are partnering to provide the therapy.

Earlier this week Brad Arnold, lead singer with the rock band Three Doors Down, made a $10,000 donation to the effort.

“I know that horses have had an impact on my life. We’ve talked about for a long time looking for a way to get involved with the program.”

Would you like to learn more about the Center of Equine Recovery for Veterans?