The mission of Horses Over America is to create partnerships between the police departments of 17,000 towns and cities and 17,000 horse owners 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 horse owners and use of many of our almost 10,000,000 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 4-6 days (up to 9) 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:
- Public schools, child/day care centers, Boys and Girls Clubs of America and town recreation centers.
- Elderly housing centers including nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, assisted living centers, veterans homes, homeless shelters, military bases, hospitals, cancer patients/ survivors and rehab centers. We have also made the decision to target autism and to support the group functions of the nation’s autistic groups.
- Town and city neighborhoods, specifically economically- disadvantaged neighborhoods. One of the goals of Horses Over America is to take our horses to where the people are and visiting neighborhoods is where the people are.
- Local merchants, downtown centers & retail businesses. The fact is, that this is where a large percentage of the population congregates and in many towns and cities these will be important destinations for us to visit.
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”.