About New Freedom Farm
In the United States, veterans commit suicide at a rate of 22 individuals per day.
The farm itself is a safe place for veterans and first responders suffering from trauma, depression/anxiety, substance use, and other issues. Staff and volunteers engage visitors to the farm by encouraging therapeutic interaction with the farm's equine residents, farm chores, and peer-to-peer support. These visits help veterans and first responders with feelings of isolation, communication, trust, and social skills. The end-goal of these interactions is to empower veterans and first responders to heal by realizing their efforts and contributions and assisting with reintegration into civilian life.
Just as New Freedom Farm is a safe place for humans, it is also a dedicated safe haven for its equine residents. The horses and other animals that live on the farm have come from their own traumatic situations, including abandonment and auction. The animals that reside at New Freedom Farm are what make the programs unique and will remain permanent inhabitants of the farm. One exception to this is the wild mustangs that make their way to this idyllic farm. Veterans chosen to participate in the Wild Mustang program may be eligible to assume responsibility for the animal if it is deemed appropriate for all.
The farm also offers unique service opportunities, including the New Freedom Farm Honor Guard and the mandated service program for individuals referred through local courts.
New Freedom Farm is dedicated to helping those who have served our country and their families. Veterans and first responders are never charged for their visits to the farm.
New Freedom Farm is a nonprofit organization founded by veteran and forensic nurse Lois Fritz in 2016. Lois founded New Freedom Farm out of her personal understanding of PTSD and the therapeutic benefits of being around horses. Located on 13 level acres in Buchanan, VA, the farm is home to a number of equines, including mares and their foals saved from slaughter, mini horses, and mini donkeys, among others. New Freedom Farm is dedicated to helping those who have served our country and their families. Since 2016, the farm's residents and programs have grown and continue to find new ways to serve veterans, first responders, and their families.
Saving Slaughter-Bound Horses
Central to the idea of New Freedom Farm is 'sanctuary.' The farm is a dedicated safe place for healing humans and horses. Much like the veterans the organization serves, the resident horses have come from stress-filled situations. Having been abandoned to an auction circuit that often delivers them to the hands of "kill buyers," these animals have seen their fair share of fear and trauma. It is the essence of the horse, combined with their journeys to the farm, which makes this program unique. The horse's sensitivity delivers honesty and truth for the veteran that is experiencing difficulty trusting others.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition triggered by experiencing or seeing a terrifying event. Symptoms of PTSD include agitation, irritability, hostility, hypervigilance, self-destructive behavior, and social isolation. As many as 20% of veterans returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom) have been diagnosed with PTSD. Thirty percent of Vietnam Vets have PTSD. US Veterans commit suicide at an average rate of 22 per day. Many veterans have PTSD and traumatic brain injuries (TBI), resulting in social isolation and withdrawal.
Studies have shown that interacting with an animal, such as a horse, can be therapeutic and calming to individuals with PTSD. Visiting with the equines at New Freedom Farm helps veterans with isolation, communication, trust, and social skills.
Visiting the Farm
New Freedom Farm is located just a few miles from Interstate 81 at 6118 Lithia Road, Buchanan, VA 24066. The farm is private property and has standard operating hours in which visitors and volunteers are welcome. The organization reserves the right to refuse admission to any person for any reason.
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