Woodside, one of only 14 Southern Living Inspired Communities, is excited to host its very first Southern Living Inspired Home Tour! The tour, which runs weekends from April 21 through May 29, is expected to draw roughly 10,000 visitors over the course of its six weekends. Upon realizing the reach of the Southern Living brand, and the traffic the tour would draw, Woodside instantly recognized the potential this tour had to make a huge positive impact on charitable organizations. For that reason, with the help of Woodside’s own Women of Woodside, three charities were selected to split all proceeds from the Southern Living Inspired Home Tour. Read on below to learn more about a charity near and dear to Aiken locals, Saratoga WarHorse:

Saratoga WarHorse Foundation is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization formed to assist military veterans who are experiencing invisible, psychological wounds by providing a confidential, unique experience using rescued and retired off-the-track Thoroughbred racehorses. The organization’s three-day program culminates with a powerful “Connection” between the horse and veteran, both warriors in their own right, and both with parallel life experiences. This connection helps both find new purpose after their service.

Many of the veterans who pass through the program have been experiencing emotions such as anger, loneliness and isolation, loss of control, and difficulty relating to and trusting others. The Thoroughbreds used in the program are often neglected and abused, or suddenly retired at which time they often have no direction or purpose and have difficultly transitioning to be horse again- all of which can create trust issues.  After the Connection between the horse and the veteran, they have a bond of trust established between them, and each enters a new stage of their lives – the horse becomes more trusting and adoptable, and the veteran often experiences significant positive transformations.

A research study is now underway to measure data relating to hope, optimism, relationships and daily functioning after attending the program, though the pictures and quotes below speak volumes on their own about veterans’ experiences:

 

 

 

 

“To my shipmates and fellow vets…if you are tired of the darkness and tired of the long sleepless nights…go to saratogawarhorse.com. I can’t really explain what exactly happens when you have your ‘Connection’ with one of these beautiful animals…but I left a lot of baggage in that pen. Good luck to you all and I hope you find the peace that was gifted to me.” Chris

“When my Connection ended is when my life connection began again.” Mike B.

“My experience surrounds me every day. Words cannot express the change in me in how I love more and accept myself as I am. And now I feel forgiven for my part in combat.” Anonymous

“Each day since I participated in the program my outlook has been different. I am more open, trusting and at ease. I am generally a happier and more in the moment person.” BB

This program is offered in two locations: Aiken, SC and Saratoga Springs, NY. It is offered to all veterans, regardless of when they served or where they live.  Through generous donors and fundraisers, the program is provided free of charge to each veteran and includes transportation, meals and lodging.

Please visit www.SaratogaWarHorse.org or call 803-306-6400 (Aiken) and 518-886-8131 (NY) to obtain additional information. You can also like this amazing organization on Facebook here to keep in touch with its fundraising activities and program testimonials.