Every Thursday, Charles comes all the way to Canyon Country from Los Angeles and gets to spend the day on a ranch, grooming, training and riding horses. A veteran of the U.S. Army, he was stationed in West Germany during the Cold War and he went to jump school with the 101st Airborne Division. The 52-year-old has experienced hardship, but finds relief and calm from visits to Because We Can – Because We Care, or BWC2, where he gets to interface with rescue horses.
“A lot of us have PTSD – things we’ve seen in life,” Charles said. “We can identify again with the world through communication with the animal.”
Teaching TCR horsemanship (Trust, Confidence and Respect), founder/president Dave Drulias passes on the benefits of riding and caring for horses with those who need it. On Thursdays, American veterans are invited to the ranch in Sand Canyon to learn the process of grooming and caring for the six horses owned by BWC2.
“Our philosophy is to share our love and passion of horses with those who are in need, for free,” says the website.
After just four weeks visiting the BWC2 ranch on Thursdays, Charles got in the saddle and took a turn riding in the arena. He said his favorite part of the overall experience is “the bullpen.”
“You’re training, you’re commanding,” Charles said. “Calm and aggressive at the same time. The love I try to give them comes back to me.”
Jennifer Ericson enlisted in the U.S. Army following 9/11. Unfortunately, she was injured during basic training, so she had to return home to the San Fernando Valley. Now Jenny lives with a chronic pain condition.
“I was having so much fun. I was building stamina and being outdoors,” she said. “I wasn’t depressed, watching TV at home in bed.”
Jenny spends much of her time with the horses, exercising them in the round pen and teaching riding lessons. She can describe every horse in detail, from “Maxwell” the race winner to “Marque,” who is the star of BWC2’s children’s program on Sundays.
Whether it is a Sunday and the ranch is filled with kids with developmental challenges, or Thursdays, giving veterans the chance to manage their emotions, Because We Can – Because We Care is there to serve others and rescue horses.
In order to operate, the non-profit organization needs financial support. For more information, contact Dave Drulias at 818-640-7952 or visit BWC2.org.