“What’s interesting about the horses, it’s not just physical ... it’s emotional,” founder and CEO Nancy O’Meara Krenek said. “There are people that believe it’s spiritual getting to partner with this magnificent animal.”
Established in 1998, ROCK is a nonprofit serving the Central Texas area to help individuals heal with horses. Programs offered include physical therapy; speech therapy; therapeutic horsemanship; and equine-assisted learning programs for schools, juvenile programs and individuals, ROCK Marketing Manager Christina Clary said.
Krenek said she started the program to help individuals find their unlimited potential and because, to her, healing through horses is extremely powerful as they provide constant movement and instill leadership and trust.
ROCK began to help veterans in 2005 after receiving a call from Fort Hood requesting assistance to help put amputees on horses for rehabilitation, becoming one of the first organizations that started working with veterans and horses, Krenek said.
In the veterans program, veterans learn horsemanship and leadership, lessons that are extremely beneficial as they learn to lead themselves again and to trust others and themselves again, Krenek said.
“It is a really effective way not only to help veterans physically but to help them emotionally,” Krenek said. “It does something for them so that they can take the next step in their life.”
The program is also made up entirely of veteran volunteers, going with the military philosophy of never leaving a comrade behind, Krenek added.
ROCK started a women’s-only veterans program in 2014 and runs a similar program at Texas A&M. Since 2011, Krenek has taught a credit course for premed and pre-nursing students at the university.