The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 17, 2012

Mike Pound: Riding therapy helping wounded veterans

By Mike Pound

— For more than 13 years, the folks at Magic Moments Riding Therapy have been helping children and adults cope with and overcome a variety of physical and mental setbacks.

I’ve written about Magic Moments for several years. I’ve talked about the benefits the clients have reaped from riding sessions at the group’s stables near Diamond. When Jeanne Brummet opened Magic Moments, the focus was on children battling issues such as cerebral palsy, autism and abuse. As time went on, Jeanne began reaching out to adults who, for one reason or another, also benefit from horseback riding therapy.

Recently, Magic Moments expanded its reach once again, agreeing to a partnership with the Wounded Warriors Project. Wounded Warriors has agreed to underwrite 10 riding sessions for veterans suffering from service-related issues who might benefit from the particular sort of therapy practiced at Magic Moments.

Jeanne said Magic Moments first provided therapy for a wounded veteran in 2004. He came to Diamond from Fort Leonard Wood after having been wounded in Iraq. The solider was suffering from short- and long-term memory loss, and also had limited use of his left arm.

“After his sessions, his short-term and long-term memory improved very much, and his arm movement also improved,” Jeanne said.

In additional to helping veterans deal with physical problems, Jeanne and the folks with Wounded Warriors are hopeful that riding therapy will help service members and former service members deal with issues related to post-traumatic stress disorder. Jeanne said many therapy methods offered to veterans will mirror the basic techniques that have always been used at Magic Moments, but the methods of delivery may change.

“We won’t want to treat a veteran of war in the same way we would an autistic 10-year-old,” she said.

Jeanne said the agreement between Magic Moments and the Wounded Warriors Project was approved a few weeks ago. She said veterans who served after Sept. 11, 2001, and are seeking information about Magic Moments may call 417-325-4490, and they will be put in contact with Wounded Warriors.

And, in an effort to raise money to fund scholarships for veterans who may need more than the 10 riding sessions underwritten by the Wound Warriors Project, Magic Moments is putting on a barbecue beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 26, at Carthage VFW Post 2590.

“We wanted a way to kick off the program with Wounded Warriors, and we thought Memorial Day weekend would be a good way to tie in with our veterans,” Jeanne said.

Joplin native Kaleb McIntire will perform at the barbecue from noon until 2 p.m. Admission is $5 at the door. Lunch will be available for purchase, and the VFW will operate a cash bar. All proceeds will help provide additional scholarships for veterans.

It’s really hard to come up with a more fitting partnership than Magic Moments and the Wounded Warriors Project. I mean, talk about doubling down on good work. All the folks at Magic Moments and Wounded Warriors have been doing is helping out people in need of help, people who deserve nothing but our respect and gratitude.

If you get a chance stop by the Carthage VFW on May 26, you’ll be glad you did.