Boy Scouts take action to help therapeutic riding program

Posted at 7:30 PM, Nov 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-11 19:30:49-05

Virginia Beach, Va. - While most kids enjoyed a day off from school for Veterans Day, Carsten Ashcraft had his work cut out for him.

With the help of other Boy Scouts, he spent the day building a wash stall for horses at the EQUI-KIDS facility for his Eagle Scout project.

"It's just a big area where they can wash the horses.  They only have one and they need another one," said Ashcraft.

EQUI-KIDS began as a therapeutic riding program for people who are disabled or have special needs, but about five years ago, they expanded their focus and started EQUI-VETS, offering free therapeutic riding sessions for veterans.

That's why Ashcraft wanted to take action for them.  His dad is a veteran who participates in the program.

"It's great.  It's helped him a lot.  I know it's helped a lot of other people, so I thought it would be good to give back to the community like they give to others," said Ashcraft.

CM2 Phillip "Red" Lancaster has also seen first-hand how beneficial the program can be for vets.

He decided to start volunteering there a few months ago after driving a friend with PTSD to the facility.

While some people ride, others, like his friend, just come to enjoy a calm environment and work around the horses.

Either way, Lancaster says it makes a difference.

"It is extremely important physically and mentally because it gives them that release from work and the stresses of being in combat and coming home and trying to readjust to life," said Lancaster.

So as a ten year military veteran and an Eagle Scout himself, he offered to help out with the work.

"Anything he needs construction wise, we're just out here building what he needs to get built," said Lancaster.

It hasn't been a simple project, but it's one they're all willing to do for a program that's making a difference for a lot of people.

If you want to take action for EQUI-KIDS and EQUI-VETS, their largest fundraiser of the year is coming up on Nov. 21.  For more information about getting tickets to the Stall Ball, click here.