War Horses for Veterans is the premier horsemanship, networking and personal growth program in the U.S. We are a Kansas City based nonprofit that brings combat veterans from across the country together in a safe and peaceful environment.
WE’RE AN EQUINE BASED NETWORKING EXPERIENCE
FOR COMBAT VETERANS
Our 3-4 day programs are designed to teach the basics of horsemanship and create a network that will provide outlets for other opportunities and friendships. We use a combination of learning to work a horse, creating new networks and Equus/Life coaching to help each veteran with their own personal growth.
There is no cost to the veteran. Veterans may return as often as they like, as long as they bring another combat veteran.
I served in the US Army Infantry from January 2002 until June 2013. Like you and many Veterans, I served in many deployments to Iraq throughout my tenure. Also, like most Veterans I suffered from depression and PTSD and still do today. When I talked to Pat about the program I knew he was on to something big here with helping Veterans. So I went to the War Horses for Veterans program and had an incredible experience throughout the weekend. Bonding with the horses and the environment took all my everyday issues away. The program is surrounded by Veterans who actually care about your well-being and your family. Patrick and I talk weekly which really makes this an experience that doesn’t go away. The founder Andy Brown, you will never find a more impressive and kind individual. This man cares about what you have done for this country and is giving back to you. So, I ask you personally, to take the time to check out the program. It will be beneficial to you and your family, it was for mine. Thank you for your service and we hope to meet you soon.Corey W.May 2015
I served in the Minnesota Army National Guard from 2006 until 2014. During that time I completed a deployment to Iraq from 2009 - 2010. I've always had a love for horses and own 3. After I came back from deployment, one of the only ways I found peace was when I was riding or working with my horses. A friend from college had posted the War Horses for Veterans site on her Facebook page, so naturally I was curious. I'm certainly not the best trainer or rider for that matter, but what I learned in one weekend with Patrick Benson has completely changed me, and my horses, for the better. It was a stress-free environment with hands-on education. I learned so much more in those two days than I had ever learned in any lessons I took from other trainers. I was also very impressed with his horses. A few that I rode were only 3 and 4 years of age. However, these horses rode like they were 20. I've never ridden horses that young that were that responsive. The horses are very safe and are great confidence builders. It was a great weekend all together! I would highly recommend this program to any combat vet. I experienced an absolutely stress-free weekend with great company. The individuals running the program are all wonderful! They all were outstanding hosts.Samantha N.June 2015
Indescribably... all Veterans need to make the time. Beautiful place feels like a home away from home. First class organization and amazing staff! Thanks again for changing my life.Andy M. April 2018
I had an amazing time here at War Horse Ranch. I felt so welcome by all that made this possible. I am looking forward to returning and bringing some of my buddies. Words can't express my gratitude for this program.Tanya W.November 2016
This is an absolutely stellar organization. Every person involved at every level is a fantastic human being. Andy, Pat, Patrick, Gary, Mindy, and the rest of the people at the farm know how to connect with veterans and understand their unique wants and needs. I have never felt more at home with a group of people than I did at WHFV. The horses seem to understand their roles and importance to the veterans who visit. The pace of the instruction is set by the individual. Patrick will tell you as much as you want to know and show you how to put your newfound knowledge to use with the horses.Bryan L.May 2017
The location, atmosphere, presence of the horses, and caring attitude of the people involved making this a unique and rewarding experience. If I could give it another star, I would.
I had an amazing experience with Warhorse for Veterans Foundation. The people I met there welcomed me with open arms. For any Vet with PTSD, disability, or even nothing wrong, its a good place to get away. Their organization doesn't just provide a place for relaxation, but their kindness extends far beyond that. If you're a vet that wants or feels the need for help with employment, resume help, contact network, and etc. They will gladly help and remind you of what selfless service is and all the rest of the military values you lived while serving your country. Thank you for doing what you do.Derrick B.2017
I am not sure I can accurately put into words what this organization has done in my life. I went out there with a lot of skeletons in my closet and was under the impression that I was this broken man who has nothing left to offer this world. I had very minimal experience with horses and was very apprehensive and nervous as a lot of Veterans are. I had been to a lot of other programs for Vets and this one was gonna be the last one. It was my last ditch effort to find purpose and seek healing. So I went. From the moment I stepped out of the airport the staff was very friendly and welcoming. I could immediately begin feeling the apprehension dissipating. The Hilton Hotel that they put you in is a beautiful hotel and the rooms are second to none. You are really able to tell how much they value the veterans. Arriving at the farm is breath taking. It's a beautiful farm in very serene and peaceful location right outside of KC. From the moment I met Patrick, Corey, Pat, Andy, and the rest of the staff, I felt at home. They really make you feel like part of the family from day one. Last but not least, you meet the horses. I was very timid at first, but quickly began to loosen up with the guidance and teaching of Patrick Benson. I've yet to meet someone as knowledgeable of Horsemanship as he is. I assure I am not getting paid to say that. Its the honest truth. The horses are very good horses for this program. They are laid back and used to people. Not only do you get to learn the basics of horsemanship, you can actually ride which I haven't found at any other program. Horses have this intuitive and supernatural ability to mirror what you put out in terms of emotions. Being prey animals, they force you to be authentic and dig deep inside in order to be able to work with them. Grooming and riding have a unique ability to calm you and force you to be present in the moment which vets struggle with. This experience inspired to come back to Kentucky and form a Vet Org of my own. I left feeling confident, wanting to serve again, and with a sense of purpose I had longed for since getting out of the Army. I truly urge anyone who may be on the fence of going, to just go. I can assure you that you won't forget it. Horses and the camaraderie of the staff at Warhorses gave me a new lease on life and theres no looking back.Jeremy H. March 2018
I served in the Army as Combat Engineer 12B, from September 2006 - Jan 2014, with a deployment to Iraq from 2010-2011. I was medically retired for numerous emotional and physical injuries which haunt me even now after numerous treatment processes . I Had such an amazing time with some very amazing people. They made me feel like family and for the first time since being retired, I felt alive and wasn't all wound up, nervous and on guard inside. Being around the horses was like nothing I have ever experienced and Rifle, (the horse I worked with), seemed to sense every emotion I was feeling and somehow seemed to calm me. I didn't know how connecting and bonding with other Veterans who share similar experiences, bonding and connecting with horses, and simply just being away from your everyday life could make such an amazing difference. This is a unique and awesome program. Thank you, Andy and Pat Brown, Patrick Benson and Family, Corey Willey , and everyone else involved in making this weekend the best I've had in a very long time!!!Gregg R.August 2015
This was absolutely spectacular! Very relaxed atmosphere with the perfect amount of structure. They made sure we were comfortable with what we were doing before moving on to other aspects of working with the horses. And the fact that I was able to see old buddies was a plus to say the least. Thank you everyone at warhorses for veterans for an absolute wonderful time! I definitely recommend it to all veterans.Jason L. May 2018
Had a great weekend hanging out with some of the guys I went to Iraq with. I am not sure how I could ever put into words how grateful I am for The War Horses for Veterans program. Thank You Patrick Benson, Andy and Patricia Brown and everyone else who made it happen.Lawerence W.2019
I want to thank my wife Brandi for helping me find the help I needed through War Horses for Veterans. I also want to thank War Horses for Veterans, Patrick Benson and the rest of the WHFV family. You all taught me something so special that I want to continue forever.Doug H.2019
WAR HORSES’ STAFF
Andy and Patricia Brown
Andy Brown, with his wife Pat, owns a pipeline supply company. Over the years, he has employed numerous veterans of war. Andy has been a trail rider since his childhood and has always been passionate about horses with an equal passion to empower veterans.
Pat and Andy both empathize with our fighters, as well as with their horses. They see a strong link between the two and provide our veterans and their horses with that connection by opening up their home and farm to our combat veterans.
Patrick Benson is an Army Veteran who served in the Infantry from 1998 to 2004. His numerous military operations enable his understanding of the physical and emotional strain on our combat veterans. As a professional horseman, he manages a training and breeding program for performance horses.
Gary Llewellyn, is retired Army warrant officer who participated in the program in 2015. He later moved to Kansas City from Michigan to become a program mentor. Gary was a Warrant Officer 2 and Scout Pilot, Alpha Troop, US Army in Vietnam in 1969. To Gary, this program is a wholesome and real opportunity to experience the brotherhood he had missed for so many years and to recount stories, laugh and disengage. “The experience here made me whole again.”
Jason Klepac, our new Program Manager. Jason is a U.S. Army veteran and served 15 years in law enforcement, now retired. He and his wife Shannon have been married for 19 years and have 3 daughters. Horses have been a part of their lives since childhood and they are looking forward to all the good things to come this year and in years to come.
Bruce M. Cappo
In order to ensure the integrity of the War Horses For Veterans experience and to facilitate the safety and enjoyment of program participants, War Horses for Veterans has a contract with Dr. Bruce Cappo and Dr. Mitchell Flesher of Clinical Associates, P.A. to conduct screening assessments of program applicants. The assessments will be completed in two stages: a brief tele-video interview for initial screening and an in-person evaluation of participants who are under further consideration for the program.
Bruce Michael Cappo, PhD, ABPP
Dr. Cappo founded Clinical Associates, P.A. in 1992, and he is a Board Certified specialist in Police and Public Safety psychology. He has served as president of the Kansas Psychological Association and the Kansas Association of Professional Psychologists. Also, has served on the University of Minnesota Press Advisory Committee related to psychological assessment and is an ad hoc reviewer for several professional psychological journals. His current practice is focused in three areas: forensic evaluations in consultation, evaluations related to public safety, and evaluations for diagnostic clarification and treatment planning.
Mitchell Flesher, PhD, JD
Dr. Flesher is a licensed psychologist and licensed attorney in the state of Kansas. His practice is devoted to clinical and forensic assessment. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in forensic psychology and has been admitted as an expert witness in forensic and mental health issues throughout Kansas and Missouri. Before entering private practice, he worked as a forensic psychologist in the Kansas Department of Corrections and later as the Veterans Justice Outreach Specialist with the Eastern Kansas VA Healthcare System.