“Inside the ring, I gained confidence, trust, purpose, and focus. Outside the ring…I really think I have developed greater hope and healing in the process.” —Teagan Manning
A 14-year veteran of the Marine Corps, Teagan Manning has been locked in a constant battle with trying to overcome the invisible wounds of war. “Hypervigilance, stress, anxiety. What do you do with all of that?” she says of living with her symptoms. “Your whole purpose starts to become managing all of that. Getting through your day and making sure everything’s just right, and that’s exhausting. Really exhausting.”
Teagan began coming to EquiCenter over a year ago. In addition to participating in Heroes and Horses, she also joined Mission Mustang, our national pilot program that unites veterans and wild mustangs on a journey towards growth and healing. That’s where she met Hero, a 5 year-old mustang gelding from Wyoming who had not been handled before coming to EquiCenter.
“I realized working with Hero, that if I was going to help him, I was going to have to find this calm centeredness within myself in order to help him learn and achieve the things he needs to achieve,” says Teagan. “And that calm centeredness…I haven’t felt in years.”
Teagan has spent the last five months working with Hero, patiently and carefully helping him learn new skills and to trust. “I realized that Hero was really stressed and pretty quickly I made that connection between what he was experiencing and what I was experiencing,” Teagan notes. “When I think about Hero as this majestic animal that is learning to trust me, it’s an incredibly powerful feeling for someone who doesn’t trust very easily myself.”
While the training has helped Hero go from unhandled to being ridden, Teagan has experienced life-changing progress as well. “Inside the ring, I gained confidence, trust, purpose and focus. Outside the ring, some of the things I was struggling with, they haven’t all gone away. But I’ve become less hyper-vigilant, less stressed, less anxious. I’m sleeping more. I’m getting out more and socializing. I’ve developed some meaningful relationships. I really think I have developed greater hope and healing in the process.”
Stories like Teagan’s would simply not be possible without the generous support of community members like you. Please join us in supporting veteran programs like Mission Mustang, so that we’re able to offer men and women who have sacrificed so much for our freedoms the opportunity to heal and restore a sense of normalcy to their lives.