Hear from Real Veterans

True Stories From Our Graduates

The following stories could be called “Testimonials”, as is the traditional definition. But we would rather call them “true stories.” Behind each story is a journey, struggle, triumph and victory. But most importantly, behind each story is a true person; one who entered into a very rough time in their life, and came out the other side a better person. They have decided to share their journey with you.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at BSR. When I first arrived at the ranch I have moved to L.A. from the East Coast which was a huge change. The ranch provided a forum for me to ground myself in general and specifically to my new environment. The program facilitated my growth in learning to cope well with anxiety and depression. I’ve learned to see the horses responses to me as a reflection of my mental state. I enjoyed the various exercises and talking through their relation to my life. Through the program I’ve learned just how aware, capable and mature I have become. I really enjoyed working with the animals because their size and strength bring you face to face with anxiety. The program has been helpful in that it’s taught me how to recognize, manage and even leverage my anxiety. Oh and the facilitators are really awesome.”

– Pilot, U.S. Marines

“I’m so grateful to have had this experience! Being in this environment allowed me to open up and drop my guard. I have tried to go to one-on-one therapy in the past, did one session, and ran. Everyone here was so welcoming and brought me to a better place (horses and the people), an amazing combination. I wish the VA offered this therapy. I know in my heart that it could help so many that are falling through the cracks of the system because they don’t feel comfortable with the normal modality that the VA currently offers. During the time I was here I even had to deal with a friend committing suicide (also a veteran). He just wouldn’t get help. But, maybe this would have been something he would have tried. I know I’m thankful for BLUE STAR RANCH, who are just outstanding! I’ve found a calmness here and I am thankful.”

– MMFM, U.S. Navy

“From the first session, Jack was able to call me on my “horse crap” for lack of better terms. Over the course of this program, I discovered things about myself and my past that were holding me back from my future, and I vocalized thoughts never spoken aloud. I see my true worth, I can let my anger pass more times than not, and I can communicate without letting my emotions take over. I handle stressful situations better than I ever have. The peaceful, remote environment provided a safe space to let go and truly process the things I kept suppressed, and having Nancy, Katie and Jack for support is more than I could ever hope for.”

– E4 Flight Line Avionics

“Participating in the Blue Star Ranch program has allowed me to release anxiety. anger and open up. I have been through counseling in various offices and didn’t make the progress I made here. I loved being outside with the horses. The staff and environment was the ideal situation where I could relax and learn skills to not only deal with my trauma but give me tools for my current situation and the future. I have learned to value myself and to accept limitations. This was the beginning of a new era. My husband has seen a positive impact in our communication. I feel that I have found peace. I thank, Debbie, Jane & Quigley.”

Gracie, CPL USMC Military Police K-9 Handler

“Before my Blue Star Ranch experience I was blinded by anger caused by my family. I got into arguments easily. I’ve had to go through copious amounts of therapy, but my dad had put me through the Blue Star Ranch program. When I joined I started to change my anger and attitude. My anger still lives today but I hope to get rid of it, or learn to control it.”

– Son of BSR Graduate, Age 13

“My Blue Star Ranch sessions with Nancy, Katie, and Therapy Horse Jack brought clarity and positive outlook. I was able to learn to manage my symptoms relating to PTSD more effectively. My experience at Blue Star Ranch was enlightening.”

– Surface Warfare Specialist, J.H., U.S. Navy (Rescue Swimmer)

“What I liked about the sessions at Blue Star Ranch was being outside. It had a grounding affect for one. I also enjoyed interacting with the horses and observing the feedback/responses to me. The outdoor environment was a great benefit for processing issues I had not touched upon in many years. I found it to be non- intimidating , unlike therapy I’ve had in an office setting. I have learned that I don’t need to let fear and anxiety control me. I can push through the fear/anxiety to pursue interests that I find enjoyable and experience happiness from these activities. Thanks bunches Nancy and Katie for your commitment to helping veterans.”

– U.S. Army Air Traffic Controller, Germany

“After numerous attempts at treatment for my severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) nothing had worked. I gave up all hope. Then I met the team at Blue Star Ranch and learned about a unique approach to deal with my inner demons. For the first time I experienced something that helped me move forward. I have learned to face my fears head on with a support team and a horse many victories and small battles are won. I may have trauma forever, but I have learned a lot to manage my PTSD and will continue educating myself and learning to control my inner demons. The horses brought and restored hope and allowed me to view my life purpose and somehow find some meaning to it. Also, allowing me to open up even if ever so slightly to learn to cope with my many obstacles of life. Although plenty of issues remain , good lesson, what I learned was huge.”

– SPC M.P. U.S. Army, Afghanistan

“Blue Star Ranch focuses on a person’s strengths and empowers our veteran experience in a positive manor, which has helped me gain greater confidence in the veteran I am not. Thank you.”

– Cpl R.D., U. S. Marines, Iraq

“Blue Star Ranch is just where I needed to be. It became my ‘safe space.’ It gave me a chance to focus on myself, to realize that it was okay to unplug from the everyday grind.”

– Sgt. A.P., U.S. Marines, Afghanistan

“My experience at Blue Star Ranch working with both Nancy and Katie was a positive experience. I enjoyed working with the animals. Connecting with nature at the ranch was relaxing and helped me slow my thinking so I could clearly digest different perspectives. Some of the things I learned were improving communications with my family, and looking at relationships differently. The environment helped me relax, which I enjoyed because it helped me articulate my personal challenges with others.”

– First Sgt. Army, Afghanistan

“The experience I had with the horses was a really helpful coping skill. By interacting with the horses I was able to relax and most importantly, I learned to look at the horses as some of our soldiers. By this I mean, horses are willing to follow and lead when they need to. Without a doubt this program is very helpful. You have people who care about you and your adaptation to living a better life. Just being able to talk to people who don’t rush to judgment and listen to what you are going through. I’m glad my wife found this program. I’m very grateful.”

– Sgt J.L., U.S. Army, Iraq

“I found committed people at Blue Star Ranch who wanted to use a different method to help vets with their after combat issues. My sessions were calming moments in a stressful week. I’m realizing there are many ways to express myself with a kinder outlook on life. I look forward to stopping by and visiting everyone. Thank you. For me it was an enriching experience.”

– SP5 B.W., U.S. Army, Vietnam, Helicopter Crew