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

 ??  ?? Two years sober, veteran Adam Halloran now enjoys healthier pastimes: gardening, pottery, and spending time at the barn.
Two years sober, veteran Adam Halloran now enjoys healthier pastimes: gardening, pottery, and spending time at the barn.

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