My Town Hero: Sherwood woman using horses to heal veterans with PTSD

My Town Hero: Sherwood woman using horses to heal veterans with PTSD

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In tonight’s My Town Hero, we meet a Sherwood woman committed to serving those who have risked their lives for our country.

When it comes to physical, emotional, or behavioral issues, Frankie Stovall knows the value of using horses to help war veterans heal.

“They can express themselves and they can talk to their horse and a lot of them talk to their horse and tell them things about themselves and I’m just there to guide them along,” said Stovall.

Frankie created the therapeutic riding program, Project Equus, at Hearts and Hooves in 2013.

It’s designed to help veterans with PTSD or those struggling to transition back into society.

“They learn to bathe, brush, saddle groom and once they get that down and get comfortable we’ll move to riding lessons,” said Stovall.

Each phase of the program is tailored to meet individual needs. In place of panic, veterans find a sense of peace through Frankie’s therapeutic recreational interventions.

“I think she inspires them to feel like they can be better or they can feel more healed.”

Executive director, Elizabeth Marg, says Frankie works tirelessly to secure funds through grants, public speaking and donations raising $25,000. So far, no veteran has had to pay a dime to receive therapy.

“She’s probably one of the most intrinsically motivated people I’ve ever met so she’s always looking for the next goal and working towards the next thing,” said Marg.

Her most recent accomplishment was a $5,000 grant from the Disabled Veteran’s National Foundation.

“When I submitted this grant it was going against the whole country,” said Stovall.

Her program is now among the top 20 being recognized for its service to veterans. But this honor didn’t come easy, Frankie spent anywhere from 15 to 20 hours working on the grant.

“When I’m writing those grants I just keep telling myself in my head that this makes a difference,” said Stovall.

It’s her passion and dedication that makes all the difference in the lives of the veterans she serves.

Frankie will travel to Washington D.C to receive recognition for Project Equus at a luncheon on Wednesday.

If you know someone in your community who goes above and beyond, email us information about them and what makes them a hero to mytown@thv11.com.

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