Operation Unbridled Freedom
Mission: Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center honors US Veterans by offering the Operation Unbridled Freedom Program, designed for veterans by veterans. OUF offers an opportunity to build camaraderie; be of service to fellow veterans and the community; and experience a challenging physical activity.
Concept: Operation Unbridled Freedom provides US Veterans with an opportunity to ride and interact with horses and fellow veterans. OUF Veterans work with specially trained volunteers and Certified Instructors, some of whom have also given their service to our Country. This mutual understanding of military values and war experiences Veterans have faced creates an environment of trust and camaraderie. In addition, all staff and volunteers are hand selected and must complete online trainings to become culturally equipped to serve our Veterans.
OUF provides Veterans with their choice of the following opportunities:
- Trail Riding
- Horse Handling & Care
- Natural Horsemanship & Join Up
- Basic Riding Lessons for New Riders
- Advanced Riding Lessons For Experienced Riders
- Adaptive Riding for Physical Impairments
- Volunteering to Serve other riders
- Equine Assisted Therapy – Group, Individual, and Veteran Family sessions
Equine Therapy for Veterans includes the following benefits:
- Rehabilitation – improve core strength, cognition, balance, coordination, circulation, emotional stability and overall fitness
- Reintegration into the civilian sector
- A challenging physical activity
- Camaraderie with other veterans
- Opportunity to be of service again
Structure: OUF is a weekly program for US Veterans. Once registered with proof of service, Veterans may attend on a weekly basis. Veterans can participate in equine activities including horsemanship, ground work, trail riding, or arena work. Veterans are assembled into Units, using a ranking system based upon equine skill level and physical or emotional needs. Each Rank is encouraged to support their fellow Veterans by volunteering during other Units. In addition to our services, Hearts has collaborated with Hope for Warriors to provide Equine Assisted Therapy, or EAP, for Veterans and their families. All Veteran activities will take place Wednesday’s with the following schedule:
0900 – 1000 Individual or Family EAP Session
1000 – 1100 Women Veteran Group EAP Session
1100 – 1200 Men Veteran Group EAP Session
1300 – 1330 Unit War Horse (WWII & Vietnam Veterans)
1330 – 1430 Unit Mustang (Advanced level Veterans)
1430 – 1530 Unit Green Horse (New or Novice level Veterans)
Cost: The true cost of this program is underwritten, allowing veterans to participate at no cost to them.
Leadership: OUF is led by Marine Corps Veteran Devon Sachey. Sachey grew up training and competing horses before joining the United States Marine Corps in 2003. Devon is now the Program Director of Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center and is honored to provide a program that continues to offer Veteran Support to the local Santa Barbara community.
“This Program was built by Veterans, for Veterans to provide an opportunity to be part of a cohesive unit again; where we can be of service once more and de-compress from the stress of daily life.
We’re not here to fix anybody. We simply wanted a place where our sense of service mattered; a place where our military values are a common virtue.”
D. Sachey, Sgt. USMC
[OPEN INVATION FOR VETERANS]
“Like many returning Vets, I lost the sense of purpose & structure I had in the Service. But this program changed my life; I found a Brotherhood, a sense of purpose and a safe haven.”
Captain, USMC, Ret.
“This place is a sanctuary. It is a safe place where the outside world just disappears.”
USMC Vietnam Veteran, Purple Heart Recipient & Founding Member
“I’ve told this Horse all my problems, and he still likes me.”