Horse & Rider
From Hopeless to Healing to Healer
Two years ago, veteran Adam Halloran was spiraling toward
self-destruction. Horses saved his life.
es has provided a new lease on life.
“I’m not a morning person,” he laughs, “but when I’m out there at 6:30 in the morning mucking stalls, all I feel is tranquility, purpose, and accomplishment. My commitment to the horses holds me accountable and responsible. I help them get through their day and they help me get through mine.”
Standing in the cool light of morning, muck fork in hand, Halloran has come a long way from the person who used to staple his curtains to the wall because he couldn’t bear the thought of facing daylight.
The horses made such an impression on Halloran that he didn’t want to leave at the end of the six-week program. He extended his participation to 10 weeks. Then he came back as a volunteer.
Then he came back as a peer advocate for the veteran’s program. And finally, he came back as a student.
In addition to offering equine-assisted services to the public, SUNY Cobleskill is one of the few colleges in the country that offers a degree track in the field. Graduates receive a Bachelor of Technology in Therapeutic Horsemanship and can also minor in EquineAssisted Services. The coursework spans from equine science and business management to psychology and early child development, giving students a comprehensive depth of knowledge and strong foundation. Students can also work toward completing their therapeutic riding instructor certification through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International.
“This is a growing field,” says Mansfield. “The need for alternative types of activities and interventions like equine-assisted services is the direction that health care seems to be going.”
Today, Halloran has been sober for two years and is on the path to getting his degree and becoming a therapeutic horsemanship instructor. He wants to help others through horses as he was helped.
“Horses can heal so many,” he says. “I swore an oath to help people, and when I got out of the military, I didn’t know how to do that. Now I do. This is how I can heal. This is how I can help others heal.”
SUNY Cobleskill provides therapeutic horsemanship services to the public as well as degree tracks in the field. Learn more at