“Healing Humans through Horses” is what New Freedom Farm is all about. Lois Fritz founded New Freedom Farm in 2016 out of her personal understanding of PTSD and the relief she experienced through time spent in the midst of her horses. Located on 13 level acres in Buchanan, VA; the farm is home to 19 equines, including three mares & their foals saved from slaughter, a number of mini horses & mini donkeys, a ‘henny’ and a mule. Built on faith and determination, New Freedom Farm is dedicated to helping those who have served our country along with their families. Fritz moved to Buchanan from New Jersey in November of 2015. Her husband, Mitchell, joined her in March. She is a full time forensic nurse, with 21 years of experience.
Saving Slaughter-Bound Horses
Central to the idea of New Freedom Farm is ‘sanctuary’. Not only is the farm a place for healing humans; but it is also a place dedicated to providing safe haven for its equine residents.
Much like the Veterans we serve, our horses have come to us following stress-filled situations. Having been abandoned to an auction circuit that often delivers them to the hands of “kill buyers”, these animals have seen their fair share of fear and trauma. We believe it is the essence of The Horse combined with their journeys to us that makes our program unique.
The sensitivity of the horse delivers an honesty and truth for the Veteran who is experiencing difficulty trusting others.
New Freedom Farm offers PTSD sufferers the opportunity to participate in an unstructured environment at whatever level of involvement works for them.
Contact with animals has been shown to reduce anxiety. Many PTSD/TBI Veterans are isolated or withdrawn. Visiting with the equines at New Freedom Farm helps with isolation, communication, trust and social skills.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
“Healing Humans through Horses,” is New Freedom Farm’s free offering to assist those in need. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can be described as a mental health condition triggered by experiencing or seeing a terrifying event. The symptoms can include agitation, irritability, hostility, hypervigilance, self-destructive behavior, or social isolation.
As many as 20% of veterans returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom) have been diagnosed with PTSD. 30% of Vietnam Vets suffer from PTSD. U.S. Veterans commit suicide at an average rate of 22 per day. Studies have shown that interacting with an animal, such as a horse, can be very helpful and calming to those suffering from PTSD.