ELVERTA — A local veteran opened his own business this Memorial Day in hopes of helping others struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder.
“When I got back from Afghanistan I kind of lost my identity and horses kind of helped me get it back or create a new one, I suppose,” said Zachary Leyden.
Leyden’s own experience inspired Trail Brothers LLC, his own horseback riding business at Gibson Ranch in Elverta.
For their grand opening this Memorial Day, Leyden and his partners offered free rides to veterans and their families all day.
They were not just offering free trail rides for Memorial Day. Every day veterans can come to trail brothers and ride the local trails for free.
“As I see people come here, you can see them closed in and the more they work with the horses, the more their whole persona opens up and they become a happier person. I don’t know, its magic,” Leyden told FOX40.
Leyden is sharing a form of therapy that changed his life with people who’ve been in his shoes.
“You read the horse’s emotions as he’s responding to you and you have to adjust yours,” said Kenneth Brons, who is a veteran from Garden Valley. “So you constantly have to be aware of how you’re feeling and how you’re reacting.”
Brons said enjoying time with his family was one of the best ways he could honor his fallen comrades this Memorial Day.
“They sacrificed our lives so that we can enjoy things like this,” he said. “We can make decisions that other places can’t because of the freedoms that we have here.”
Trail Brothers currently offers trail and pony rides but they plan to launch an equine therapy program in the near future.