In the hardest moments of Jessie Kuntz’s early adulthood, Apollo provided comfort.

The 20-year-old quarter horse-thoroughbred cross was Kuntz’s shoulder to lean on as she coped with problems and challenges that seemed overwhelming at the time.

Years later, Kuntz was looking for ways to help military veterans through their own traumas when Apollo popped into her mind.

“I felt so empowered in my own life that I was like, ‘I’ve got to find a way to share this feeling,’” said Kuntz, a Las Vegas native who is working to turn idea into reality. Her new nonprofit equine-assisted therapy program, Withers for Warriors, plans to begin accepting clients in February.

Withers for Warriors will employ four psychologists and six horses to help adults struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) overcome issues like tendencies toward isolation, difficulty communicating, and a lack of trust in friends and family, Kuntz said. The organization will focus on serving veterans, first responders, and women who were victims of domestic violence.

She expects to be able to serve about six clients a day, each of whom will work one-on-one with a psychologist.

There’s limited research to back up the effectiveness of equine-assisted therapy as an alternative to evidence-based PTSD care, though one study published last month by researchers at the University of New Mexico found the therapy may be comparable with existing alternatives.

Another study, published in September by Australian researchers found that equine-assisted therapy was useful in helping veterans with PTSD symptoms if a partner was involved in their care.

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“New North Las Vegas horse therapy program focuses on PTSD sufferers | Las Vegas Review-Journal.”, Accessed 28 December, 2018.