The mission of Horses Over America is to create partnerships between the police departments of New England’s 850 towns and cities and 850 horse owners (up to 1,800 horses) for the mental health needs of our region. Our nations population was facing enormous strains on its emotional and psychological health pre-COVID-19, now worsened following COVID-19, leading to historically high levels of loneliness, disconnection, depression, suicide, autism, a range of emotional disorders and often drug overdosing. At the root of the problem our population feels disconnected and a broad regional partnership with many of New England’s 75,000 horse owners and use of many of our almost 120,000 horses as a antidote will create a cost effective magical connection. Concrete steps need to be taken now and this underused national treasure is a part of the answer. Our program is based in great measure on working with the Chiefs of Police as equal partners in each community. In each town/ city our Horses Over America Team Leaders will accompany either one or two police officers and bring two untacked horses, for 8 hours a day, for 3-6 days each year. Only horses that are healthy, strong and near bomb-proof for safety reasons should be used.
Although the chief of police for each town or city develops each day’s schedule, these are our priorities that we ask them to use in creating that schedule:
- Elderly housing centers including nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, assisted living centers, veterans homes, homeless shelters, military bases, hospitals, cancer patients/ survivors and rehab centers.
- Child/day care centers, public schools, Boys and Girls Clubs of America and town recreation centers. Using our 600-850 New England Horses Over America team leaders, we make every effort to promote awareness of there nearby stables and riding services. If it were ten years ago, we may not have listed schools as on of the strategic priorities of the program. However, in light of the mass shootings that have taken place on almost an epidemic scale we feel the need to make our visitation to schools a strategic priority.
- Town and city neighborhoods, specifically economically- disadvantaged neighborhoods.
- Local merchants, downtown centers & retail businesses. These entities might not be normally be a priority, but because of COVID-19 they are suffering greatly.
A key objective is to raise the profile of our national, state and local horse community with the American people both for their benefit and for the benefit of our profession, stables and our diverse equestrian styles and activities.
Our mission statement includes a powerful saying from Roy Rogers who used to say “the best thing for the inside of a person is the outside of a horse”.