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It takes a steed to steady a hero’s stress

Reported by: Denise Rosch
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Updated: 2/15/2014 7:54 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- Having a loved one deployed is a tough adjustment for many military families.

It can also difficult to deal with the change for military family members who are coming home after a long stint overseas. Horses4Heroes is a local non-profit group out to help ease some of the stress.

Staff Sgt. Chris McAleer just ended a year-long deployment in Afghanistan; now he takes a slow walk around a horse arena. 

“It's calming, and there's an appreciation between you and 2,000 pound animal,” McAleer said.

News 3 first met the family on Christmas Eve as McAleer returned home through McCarran Airport.

For some families, it can be a difficult adjustment, which is why Horses4Heroes came to be.

Horses4Heroes is a Las Vegas nonprofit that serves military, police and firefighter families which was established by Sydney Knott. Founded in 2006, Horses4Heroes offers lessons and activities at deep discounts for military families.

“A lot of times these guys have been through something pretty tough. And you can tell a horse what you've seen and done and the horse doesn't sit there and go hmmm or raise an eyebrow and say how do you feel about that or judge you,” Knott said.

Next month the entire operation is moving to Tule Springs at Floyd Lamb Park. and will opening to the public and re-introduce horses to the park. They hope it to remain a permanent attraction at Floyd Lamb.

“We'll be offering horseback riding, our wonderful toddler program we call horse play,” Knott said.

Knott says many of her horses were either rescued or donated. Even the barnyard cat, Belle, has a military connection -- she is living in Las Vegas while her family is in Germany.

As for McAleer, he's become more than a regular customer -- he is now volunteering at the stable as well.

“It bridged the gap between being deployed and coming back home,” he said.


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