Friday Video from World Equestrian Brands: Welcome to the Wild West

Grit and graft, triumph and tears, heart and hardships — these are concepts we’re all familiar with. For every ditch we leap, every test we conquer, ever fear we face, we have to learn to fall down, hard, and still get back up.

The disciplines we choose to inhabit in the horse world might feel like microcosms, but they’re all linked — and we’re all linked — by the indomitable resilience that propels us. That’s why this week’s Friday video focuses on something a little different, but teeming with a tenacity we all recognise.

The 500 Miles Project was launched at the beginning of 2017 by Horses and Heroes, a 501(c)3 veteran rehabilitation program which aims to do more than simply support its beneficiaries — instead, it helps provide them the tools and the purpose to rebuild their own lives, by working with BLM mustangs. The Project saw 15 new equine recruits undergo a three-month training process, before embarking upon a 560 mile ridden journey to Arizona, where they would be matched with a combat veteran.

“50,000 wild horses live in the BLM facilities, while there are only about half of that number in the wild,” said Micah Fink, CEO of Heroes and Horses. “Just like these mustangs, our nation’s veterans face grim statistics: homelessness, joblessness, escalating suicide and addiction rates. What is the real problem society is facing, veterans are facing, and that wild horses are facing? The current response has been more medication, more land, more money, more counseling, better holding facilities — but it’s not working, none of it is. We are missing the greater lesson of life. It’s not about excuses and explanations and stories about how hard you’ve had it. It’s about why we are here, and what life is all about, and the lessons we need to learn. It’s a story about purpose, how life makes room for us, or anything for that matter. I decided to share that story and to show that process though 500 Miles – the story of the un-purposed horse, and the un-purposed human-being.”

The remarkable documentary shows the highs and lows of that journey — “one of the hardest things I have ever done” — and explores not just the relationship between man and horse, but the paradigm shift of plumbing your lowest depths and making it back to the surface again.

Every human being has a 500, says Micah. What’s yours — and how can you find your way to its final mile?