Veterans 'Ride Utah' with USU and local outfitter
May 31, 2018 | 274 views | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Wrangler Madeline Daly leads a group of military veterans on a trail ride sponsored by Utah State University and Moab Horses. 
				             Photo by Charles Bruce
Wrangler Madeline Daly leads a group of military veterans on a trail ride sponsored by Utah State University and Moab Horses. Photo by Charles Bruce
slideshow
Utah State University’s “Ride Utah” program recently came to Moab, offering therapeutic horseback rides to regional military veterans and their families.

Sixteen participants rode horses and mules May 15 with Hauer Ranch wranglers near Fisher Towers, enjoying lunch and a time to network with one another about their life experiences and challenges. Event organizer Dr. Karl Hoopes, DVM, arranges the rides throughout the state as a way to bring military veterans together, and to fulfill USU’s mission of being a land-grant college that serves the entire state.

Hoopes, equine extension specialist at USU, and other higher-education officials rode with the veterans, some of whom are now college students, and discussed the value of the Ride Utah program. Sheldon W. Holgreen, director of the Veteran Success Center at Utah Valley University, said, “We truly enjoyed it and found it to be very emotionally soothing. This experience has created a lasting impression not soon to be forgotten.”

On behalf of UVU, as a token of his appreciation, he gave John Hauer a “challenge coin.” Challenge coins surfaced during World War I when the practice of carrying a coin designed especially for a unit was popular with Army Special Forces. “Carrying the coin at all times and presenting it when ‘challenged’ to prove affiliation with that unit resulted in a number of consequences for those who could not produce a coin,” explained Holgreen. “The most popular required the coinless soldier to buy a drink. That practice continues to this day,” he said. “We at the UVU Veterans Success Center hope that our paths cross again and that maybe we will be caught unprepared and owe you all a drink!”

Participant Stephanie Richards, who is now a student at UVU, said she “had an amazing time, being able to relax my mind and gain some positive perspective about my daily life. During the tour I completely forgot about the time and was able to enjoy the beautiful view of the canyons and being on the horse.”

Ride Utah plans to return to Moab next spring.

Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

report abuse...

Express yourself:

We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.