By Lori Draz
On October 26, Rene Stone, founder of Serenity Stables from Combat to Calm, hosted a horse meet and greet day for disabled veterans. Twenty-two veterans came to enjoy fellowship with other veterans and especially the horses, along with a delicious lunch and dessert, courtesy of Jimmy Peccis’ Taste of Italy and Starbucks, and music by DJ Big W of Superior Soundz Entertainment.
Serenity Stables from Combat to Calm began in 2015. Founder and lifelong equestrian Rene Stone wanted to provide horse-assisted activities to veterans returning from deployment with a broad spectrum of physical, mental, and emotional disabilities. She learned firsthand about the many benefits of equine therapy while recovering from her own traumatic brain injury suffered while training with one of her horses.
Ms. Stone said, “These brave veterans suffer with any number of developmental and physical disabilities, mental health challenges due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, visual impairments, and traumatic brain injury, all stemming from the sacrifice they gave to this country. They live with their injuries, seen and unseen, every day and they continue to endure. The bond between the horses and humans is very powerful and it is my honor to welcome these brave veterans into our stables and our hearts.” She added, “I want to send a special thank you to all the beautiful volunteers who helped make the day a true success that will be remembered by our heroes.” At the end of the day, the veterans shared how much they appreciated their visit to Serenity Stables and the meaningful interaction they shared with the horses. They all look forward to returning soon.
Serenity Stables has professionals trained and certified Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) on staff. EAGALA is the leading international nonprofit association for professionals, incorporating horses to address mental health and personal development needs. Their vision is that every person worldwide will have access to these therapy services known as Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning. Serenity Stables from Combat to Calm is a 501(c) 3 organization that runs 100% on donations to meet the increasing needs of the veteran community, and now serves as Monmouth County’s premier facility providing horse-assisted activities for the special needs of veterans. Serenity Stables is located at 660 Kings Highway in Atlantic Highlands. To learn more or volunteer, contact Serenity Stables at (732) 245-9559 or visit www.serenitystablesfcc.org.