Written by: Marvin Kobza
North Texas Giving Day is back this year on September 19th. We are spotlighting one of the more than 3,000 nonprofits participating this year, Archie Foundation for Therapeutic Horsemanship. Read more about the impact of this organization and how North Texas Giving Day helps below.
Archie Foundation for Therapeutic Horsemanship aims to enhance the quality of life for Armed Forces veterans with diverse needs through therapeutic horsemanship training programs. Horses can have a powerful impact, and our goal is to enable veterans, and their families, to experience that for themselves. We focus on building solid horsemanship skills through authentic, knowledgeable training by a certified Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship certified instructor.
I first conceived the idea of Archie Foundation for Therapeutic Horsemanship after seeing a news report about an Equine Assisted Therapy program for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress. The veterans’ testimonies about how connected they felt after being with the horses resonated with me, as I had experienced a similar connection. I’ve had a love for horses since my Dad first sat me on one of those ponies that walk around in a circle at the zoo. Being a veteran, I thought here was a way to combine my love for horses with my desire to “pay it forward” to the veteran community.
So, in 2016, I founded Archie Foundation for Therapeutic Horsemanship - named, aptly, for a horse. When I first envisioned building an equine program that would benefit veterans, I kept thinking back to one particular experience I had with a horse and the feeling it left with me. A feeling of being in harmony with the horse. It was - therapeutic. So, it was only fitting to name my foundation after that horse- Archie.
Archie was a young, rough around the edges, English Thoroughbred that my daughter, Morgen, and I invested in as a “project horse”. Morgen had just graduated from Texas A&M and was beginning graduate school in England, where her mother and I lived at the time. Morgen had competed on the A&M Equestrian team and we wanted her to use the skills she’d gained to train this young horse and then sell him for a profit. But, true to Archie’s nature, he stole our hearts and became so much more than a project. Archie liked to drink coffee – and like a true Starbuck’s aficionado, drank it out of a paper cup. He liked it with milk and sugar, and a biscuit (or cookie as we say in the U.S.) and if you weren’t careful, you might lose a button on your jacket due to his… affections.
Archie also loved to jump. One warm, unusually sunny English summer day, I was riding Archie in the outdoor arena. There were a couple of small jumps set up. Archie and I had been cantering around the outside rail for awhile, and I guess Archie got bored because a nice quiet canter along the rail turned into cantering straight for one of the jumps. I figured, if he thinks we can do it, then we must be able to. It was pretty spontaneous, so I just sat there and we sailed over the jump as if it wasn’t there. Even though the jump was just a little one, I felt like we were flying. That feeling of being one with the horse, and the exhilaration and joy of it, still makes me smile.
Since Hoofbeats for Veterans began, in June 2018, we have helped 8 veterans and 6 veteran family members experience being in harmony with the horse and the positive impact that has, at no cost to the veterans or family.
Recently, three of our veterans competed in the Disabled Equestrian Show at the Appaloosa National Championship Show in Ft Worth, TX, where they won numerous awards, including two 2nd place finishes and one 3rd place finish.
Funds generated during North Texas Giving Day go toward defraying the $3,500 per rider cost of the Hoofbeats for Veterans program. Next training sessions start in September.
This September 19, get up and give to Archie Foundation for Therapeutic Horsemanship and support you the Hoofbeats for Veterans program. Go to https://www.northtexasgivingday.org/ArchieFoundation and donate. Every donation helps!