How a horse – and bows and arrows – are helping local veterans suffering from PTSD

Local News

Memphis, Tenn. ( – A horse…

“We battle with a silent war that nobody knows about,” said Army Veteran Mosha Williams.

… plus a bow and arrows may remind you of medieval times.

“It puts you on edge. You lose that, that ability to trust,” said Army Veteran Craig Higginson.

And, at times, things may seem a little dark and gloomy. But, to Mosha and Craig, this is no game of thrones.

They are veterans, both suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. But, instead of hurting in silence, they’re receiving therapy through the Memphis VA’s Recreational Programs. 

Craig Higginson spent 15-and-a-half years in the Army.

“Toughest part was seeing a buddy wheeled away for his final ride,” said Higginson.

Medieval archers were medieval soldiers who were skilled in the use of bow and arrow. They served a very important role during both defense and attack, something Higginson understands all too well after going on a peacekeeping mission to Kosovo and serving three tours in Iraq.

“There’s things I’ll never tell people,” said Higginson.

After everything he has seen while serving our country, he finds peace and healing with the bow and arrow.

“Archery is one of those programs that’s out there to help you to get out, to be able to do something, to experience something, to kinda open up, to get out of the shell that we live in. I think it helps,” said Higginson. “You really have to focus to hit the target.”

Which leads us to this 1100-pound stud, Huey. Huey resides at Southern Reins in Collierville. He helps veterans focus too.

“He helped me to kinda put things in its place: emotionally and mentally,” said Williams.

While Huey enjoys getting groomed: brushed, combed and pampered, he serves a much more vital role. Just ask 15-year Army veteran Mosha Williams.

“As you can see, he moves pretty slow, but I just admire that because I needed something in life to take its time with me,” said Williams. “Huey has taught me personally that just because it’s big, doesn’t mean it can’t be done.”

In the past, the military mainly used horses for logistical support. They were better than vehicles at traveling through deep mud and over rough terrain. Horses were used to pull artillery, ambulances, and supply wagons.

Today, a simple walk around the arena provides healing to our men and women who served our country.

“If somebody that’s a veteran is watching this and saying, ‘I feel lost. I feel hurt. I feel depressed’ – why would you tell them to come here?” Weeknight Anchor Katina Rankin asked.

“I would encourage any veteran to come here just to try something different from the norm,” said Williams.

In wartime, the presence of horses often increased morale among the soldiers at the front. And Huey does the same for our veterans.

“Veterans can come out and escape and not really know it’s therapeutic. They’re just out here having a good time,” said Memphis VA Recreation Therapy Worker Christy White.

So our story ends the way it began with a horse and a simple bow and arrow. But, instead of seeing things in black and white, they are in color. And, that’s exactly what the Memphis VA Medical Center wants to happen with their recreational programs – to put things into prospective for our heroes, our veterans – to let them know there is life after war and there is still a lot to live for!

Learn more about the Memphis VA HERE.

Learn more about Southern Reins HERE.

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