Long time brother in arms, friend, colleague and Mefloquin warrior John Dowe and I were reconnected earlier this year after a 25 year struggle to stay alive and relearn to thrive in what we seasoned veterans often refer to as an urban battle zone. The zone I am referring to is the struggles of veterans returning from conflict abroad. I have mentioned John and a few others in past articles. I bring him up again, not just because of the ongoing work he is doing, but because approximately 6 months back he introduced me to another type of warrior, Erin Paterson.
Erin Paterson is the founder of Warriors Landing (WL) located on 100 acre Wood Wind Farms, co-located with Harnessing Horse Power, an Equestrian program. This combination is no coincidence. Erin is an international trauma advocate, independent researcher, writer and goodwill ambassador. Historically she has worked in fields of mental health and advocacy, making her effective in supporting others overcoming traumatic shock experiences. Much of her experience has come from her own personal struggles as a warrior, and a survivor. Her mantra is that PTSD is not about what is wrong with someone rather PTSD is about what happened to someone. She is fueled by a natural interest in personal research and a profound desire to help as many others as possible to gain education and support and to have that available to them when navigating catastrophic experiences.
Warriors Landing has had its setbacks like all small start ups, but has remained determined to create a strong Canadian Team to change the landscape of mental health. The goal is to establish a home base legacy that would act as first a national blueprint and then an international blueprint. Gathering together grass roots organizations in Canada who are willing to work to support veterans in need while working with the local business people, politicians, celebrities, artist or any other willing to create something extraordinary. This has become the core principles of WL. In Erin’s words “To get all of them and anyone that will listen to say, ‘I care, and I want to do something to help’, we need to build bridges and safe places for warriors to land in order to protect health and wellness for the sake of ourselves, our loved ones and all of our generation’s future, as this impacts us all.”
Woodwind Farm is an established equestrian center in central Ontario, running ‘Eventing’ and other shows throughout the warmer months. Eventing, having originated as a military training sport has the opportunity to create a landing point for warriors and warrior horses for years to come. It is the hope it will become a lasting legacy that will be carried on for generations, just as the bond between warriors and horses has always been. This is where Harnessing Horse Power comes into play. The project goal is to establish a Canadian home based breeding program that works towards preservation of the, at risk Highland Ponies, while connecting these warrior ponies with warriors. Thereby rekindling a strong beneficial and historical bond, this is proven to help veterans heal. Another important dimension to this program is the close proximity to Horseshoe Valley Resort, as well as the Simcoe Regional Airport and many other great landmarks. It is 1 hour north of Toronto situated in Oro-Medonte between Barrie and Orillia.
Having read all of the above, you can well imagine why Veterans House is so excited to be working with Erin and Warriors Landing along with our other groups, Rally Point Retreat Nova Scotia, Professional Insights British Columbia, and W.O.L.F. Academy Alberta. For more on Warriors Landings here are a few links to look at.