GAIT launches Veterans with Horses for veterans and their families

Milford. ‘Operation Green Light’ seeks to raise awareness about the unique challenges faced by veterans and their families and outlines the resources available at the county, state and federal levels.

| 08 May 2023 | 01:54

Veterans and their families are invited to attend a Green Light Event on Friday, May 19, between 6 and 7:30 pm at GAIT Therapeutic Riding Center located at 314 Foster Hill Road in Milford.

This event will be the official launch of Veterans with Horses, a new program designed for Pike County and the tri-state region’s veterans and their families.

“Our Veterans with Horses program is a response to the call-to-arms for a national collaborative initiative announced late last year by Pike County, the National Association of Counties, and the National Association of County Veteran Service Officers,” GAIT Executive Director and U.S. Air Force veteran Peter Rizzo said in the press release announcing the program.

“Christened ‘Operation Green Light,’ this program is designed to raise awareness about the unique challenges faced by veterans and their families and outlines the resources available at the county, state and federal levels.”

Change one light bulb from white to green

Community residents and businesses were asked to participate in Operation Green Light by changing one light bulb in their house, entrance and/or driveway to a green bulb that neighbors and passersby can observe.

Green lights will hopefully spark a conversation with neighbors and friends as to keeping veterans and their families in our hearts and minds and to let them know that they are seen, appreciated, and supported.

Participants in Operation Green Light are encouraged to continue shining the green light of awareness year-round.

Enrollment is not required

Veterans are not required to be enrolled in the VA system to utilize the Veterans with Horses program. As a matter of fact, there are a number of ways to receive funding support from veteran organizations such as Wounded Warrior Project. WWP supports veterans and service members who incurred a physical or mental injury, illness, or wound while serving in the military on or after September 11, 2001.

Family members or caregivers of a wounded warrior may also be eligible to receive WWP assistance. The Wounded Warrior Project Benefits Services team is one of many programs available to help veterans get the assistance they need, providing veterans with disability compensation claim assistance and are a resource for obtaining VA disability compensation benefits. 

At GAIT, there is no charge for veterans or their family members for our Veterans with Horses programs; the organization is sponsored by veteran’s organizations and public support.

Objectives for the Veterans with Horses program

Rizzo said said the Veterans with Horses has three objectives: “To offer therapeutic and learning sessions focused on three forms of equine interaction: therapy, learning and horsemanship; to raise public awareness about GAIT’s unique and proven resources that are available for all veterans and their families; and, to provide a sustainable ‘homebase’ at GAIT for veterans and their families to engage in equine-based activities in a restorative and beautiful community setting.

“Equine interaction and therapy focuses on assisting people to develop essential life skills, such as verbal and nonverbal communication, trust, respect, self-awareness, honesty” Rizzo added. “In addition, many veterans and their family members have reported that being with horses reduces anxiety, lessens feelings of depression and isolation, increases self-esteem and self-acceptance and provides a way to learn better impulse control.”

Since 1995

Founded in 1995 by Martha Dubensky, GAIT was created as a nonprofit to realize the goals and objectives of its mission statement: “To improve the quality of life of children and adults with special needs through equine activities and therapies, resulting in a more independent life in society.” Accredited as a “Premier Accredited Center” by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International, GAIT, TRC meets all safety standards and requirements for the therapeutic riding industry worldwide.

Essential information
The Green Light Event for Veterans with Horses will commence on Friday, May 19, at 6 p.m. with a “meet and greet” beginning at 6:30 introduce GAIT’s staff, volunteers and horses.
Complimentary cookout and refreshments will be served.
For additional information please contact: Peter Rizzo at 570-409-1140 or
For more information about Operation Green Light, visit