Written by Dan Burkhart

Horses Spirits Healing Inc., an equine therapy program for Veterans with service-related injuries or disabilities, has received a grant for $5,000 from the Fortin Family Foundation.

The award was provided to help with HSHI’s unique and successful program with Equestrian Assisted Activities and Therapy (EAAT), according to Paul Gatzemeier, HSHI president and CEO.

“The Fortin Family is one of Montana’s most philanthropic foundations and we’re grateful to be counted among the many charities it supports,” Gatzemeier said. “Recent national and Veterans Administration (VA) studies now testify to the success of EAAT in treating mental health conditions including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, traumatic brain injury and others, so funding goes a long way to helping those who are hurting heal.”

Nick Cladis of Cladis Investment Advisory LLC, presented the grant on behalf of the Fortin Family Foundation.

“This is the kind of program that benefits those who have served us all. Our Veterans are deserving of whatever we can do to make them well,” Cladis said. “The Fortin Family Foundation is proud to demonstrate a measure of its gratitude for Veteran service with this grant.”

HSHI was established in 2014 as a 501(c)3 by the Gatzemeier and his wife, Barb Skelton, owners of Intermountain Equestrian Center, to expand the scope of equine sports and education to include Equestrian Assisted Activities and Therapy (EAAT) for military personnel.

HSHI offers trained instructors and mental health counselors providing a variety of measured activities for veterans with service-related disabilities including PTSD, amputees, spinal cord and traumatic brain injury.

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