It’s hard to know who benefits more at Headin’ Home – the horses or the humans. Created by Tony and Esther Pistone, the Utah-based non-profit serves as both a horse rescue and equine-assisted therapy facility.
As a horse rescue, Headin’ Home provides a safe haven for both domestic and wild horses, working to gentle, rehabilitate and ready them for adoption to loving homes. At the same time, the non-profit provides equine-assisted therapy to veterans, first responders, victims of domestic abuse and others in need of help.
Board member Karina Redweik, a veteran herself, says Headin’ Home transformed her life. Today, through her work with organization, she’s paying it forward. “My job in the military was to provide the necessary supplies to the soldiers in my unit,” she explains. “Now, my position with Headin’ Home is to supply the necessary resources to support my brothers and sisters in arms when they return home.”
The group’s motto – humans helping horses helping humans – illustrates their approach to equine-focused therapy through a program they’ve dubbed Healin’ Journey. While many equine therapy programs help participants build bonds and nurture emotional growth through guided interactions with domestic horses, Headin’ Home has the added advantage of using the process of gentling wild and rescued horses to facilitate healing.
According to Tony, veterans and first responders have a lot in common with the often abused and neglected horses who find refuge at Headin’ Home. “We take in horses that are broken and humans that are broken, then work to help make them whole,” he explains. “A lot of folks are on their last legs because they’ve given up hope. We try to help them find their way back home.”