"THE WOUNDED WARRIOR REGIMENT"--service members experience renewal and rehabilitation through equine therapy in Nokesville, VA
The Wounded Warrior Regiment's (WWR) Public Affairs Office (PAO) is the point of contact for all public media relations. The image gallery provided below offer the resources below to assist in public awareness of the Wounded Warrior Regiment and what it has to offer.
NOKESVILLE, VA. 14 April 2012 - Wounded Warrior Cutting Horse Classic III
NOKESVILLE, Va. (April 14, 2012) - Sgt. Major VanFonda holds up the trophy as one of the winners in the Jinx McCain Horsemanship program at the D&M Cattle Company in Nokesville, Va. The four-day training throughout the week prepared the Marines for the Wounded Warrior Cutting Horse Classic 3 Saturday.
Franklin Powell would later be a co-winner of the Cutting Horse Classic III Finals.
Photo by Patrick Onofre
NOKESVILLE, Va. (April 14, 2012) - Matt Smith tips his hat to the crowd as one of the winners in the Jinx McCain Horsemanship program at the D&M Cattle Company in Nokesville, Va. The four-day training throughout the week prepared the Marines for the Wounded Warrior Cutting Horse Classic 3 Saturday.
Photo by Patrick Onofre.
NOKESVILLE, Va. --
Doctor’s appointments and medical tests were forgotten, at least temporarily, as Marines galloped around a horse corral Friday, grins wide and a competitive fire in their eyes.
As part of the Semper Fi Fund’s Jinx McCain Horsemanship Program, 10 wounded, ill or injured Marines from the Corps’ Wounded Warrior Regiment at Quantico Marine Corps base were selected to participate in the Wounded Warrior Cutting Horse Classic III, held at the D&M Cattle Company in Nokesville from Tuesday to Saturday.
“It’s exciting to see these Marines come and take this challenge,” said Don York, who owns D&M Cattle Company with his wife, Margaret.
While most of the Marines had some experience working with horses, very few had experience cutting horses, in which a horse and rider are judged on their ability to separate a single cow from a herd and keep it away for a short period of time.
“By the time they’ve finished here, they are pretty good horsemen, and they’ve built up a lot of confidence, and they have a lot of fun,” York said. “It’s a big adventure for them. It’s a big deal for them.”
Semper Fi Fund Outreach Manager Angie McCrary agreed, and said the competition is “a new way to instill confidence in them [wounded service members].”
The horsemanship program is part of the Semper Fi Fund’s Team Semper Fi, a rehabilitative sports program that is made up of more than 270 injured service members who take part in athletic events around the country.
“It’s an opportunity for them to continue to develop in their recovery, and that’s not just physical and mental recovery, its mind, body and spirit and family,” said Capt. Jill Wolf, public affairs officer for the WWR.
The Semper Fi Fund is a nonprofit that provides financial assistance and quality of life solutions for Marines and sailors, as well as for members of the Army, Air Force and Coast Guard who serve in support of Marine forces, when they become injured in post 9/11 combat or training operations, or they face life-threatening illness or injury.
The Marines worked on their cutting skills during the week and on Saturday put everything they learned to the test as they participated in the competition itself.
And York said it was folks like Moe Pitts, who made the drive from his home in North Carolina just to volunteer at the event, who helped to make it all possible.
“This is my way of paying back to these guys, to the country, to freedom,” he said.
Military editor Julia LeDoux can be reached at 703-369-5718.
Wounded Warrior Cutting Horse Classic II
By: Capt. Jill L. Wolf
NOKESVILLE, Va. (Oct. 24, 2011) - The United States Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment partnered with the Semper Fi Fund and D & M Cattle Company to host the Wounded Warrior Cutting Horse Classic II here Oct. 18-21. Ten Marines and one sailor, who had minimal riding experience, learned how to saddle, care for and ride horses. The riders' goal through the training was to successfully "cut" cattle while on horseback during the Classic competition Friday. Cutting is the equestrian sport of separating a cow from the herd; it mimics a skill cattle herders used to vaccinate or treat cattle.
This is the second cutting horse competition created by Col. John L. Mayer, commanding officer of the Wounded Warrior Regiment. Mayer, along with retired Army Colonel Don York, D & M Cattle Company owner, teamed up to build the program from the bottom up. Top-notch trainers and contenders in the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) are brought in to give these young men and women an accelerated learning experience on the sport of horse cutting. Mayer and York, both avid horsemen and military leaders, formed the Wounded Warrior Cutting Horse Classic to motivate and teach a skill to wounded, ill, and injured Marines and sailors.
The Classic presented 10 riders, all of whom are assigned to battalions within the Wounded Warrior Regiment, the opportunity to learn the sport for three days, gaining the skills to compete against one another on the fourth and final day. The participants learned stall maintenance, brushing and washing horses, flag drills, herding, and basic riding. Riders were assigned to two divisions, amateur and non-pro; division placement was based on how the riders preformed during pre-qualification runs Thursday. Of the 10 riders, four placed in the non-pro division.
Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (FMF) Melissa Jamarillo, the lone sailor in the competition, was one of the four riders to qualify as a non-pro. Jamarillo had never ridden before the clinic and was extremely nervous on day one of the camp. With the help of expert horsemen such as Brian Wideman, Mo Smith, and lead trainer Jim McDonough, she was able to place second in her division. She finished second only to Sgt. Israel Franco by just half a point.
McDonough made reference to the expertise of the trainers time and time again stating that it takes months to get people competition ready, these Marines and Sailors were able to train for three consecutive days and compete on the fourth.
NOKESVILLE, Va. (Oct 21, 2011) - Participants of the Wounded Warrior Cutting Horse Classic 2 line up. Nine Marines and one sailor from Wounded Warrior Regiment participated in a three-day cutting horse clinic which finalizes today with a two division competition. Photo by Aquita Brown
NOKESVILLE, Va. (Oct 21, 2011) - Colonel John Mayer, Wounded Warrior Regiment, commanding officer poses with Sgt. Israel Franco (right) and Cpl. Noah Fielding (left). Franco was the champion for the non-pro division and Fielding was the champion for the amateur division of the Wounded Warrior Cutting Horse Classic 2. Photo by Patrick Onofre
NOKESVILLE, Va. (Oct 20, 2011) - Sergeant Jason Wilmer washes his horse after a long day of cutting horse training. The three-day training will prepare the Marines for the Wounded Warrior Cutting Horse Classic II Friday and the D&M Cattle Company here. Photo by Aquita Brown
NOKESVILLE, Va. (Oct 21, 2011) - Corporal Sean Venezia focuses on the cow to prevent it from rejoining the herd during the Wounded Warrior Cutting Horse Classic 2. Nine Marines and one sailor from Wounded Warrior Regiment participated in a three-day cutting horse clinic which finalizes today with a two division competition. Photo by Aquita Brown
The event received outstanding reviews from both the staff and participants. Cpl. Camilo Rojas, a rider from Wounded Warrior Battalion West, said the competition was "Good for my mind, body and spirit". Rojas is a rifleman who transferred to Wounded Warrior Battalion West from 3rd Battalion 5th Marine Regiment.
Cpl. Sean Venezia, also from Battalion West, spoke of the competition saying, "It was good therapy" and "got us back into something we like and haven't done in a while". Venezia mentioned that it was "calming and relaxing" and also would like to attend the next Wounded Warrior Cutting Horse Classic.
From the Regimental staff point of view, Maj. Jeff Salzeider, of the operations section said that the best part of the clinic was seeing the change in the Marines and Sailors and watching their confidence grow.
The competition concluded Friday with Sgt. Israel Franco announced as the champion for the non-pro division and Cpl. Noah Felding winning the amateur division. The day before the competition Felding said, "I've never really rode like this before, it's fun". Felding also mentioned in the same interview that he was excited to compete Friday.
The WWR provides and facilitates non-medical care to combat and non-combat wounded, ill, and injured Marines, and Sailors attached to or in direct support of Marine units and their family members in order to assist them as they return to duty or transition to civilian life. The Regimental Headquarters element, located in Quantico, Va., commands the operations of two Wounded Warrior Battalions located at Camp Pendleton, Calif, and Camp Lejeune, N.C., and multiple detachments in locations around the globe.
For more information about the Wounded Warrior Regiment go to www.woundedwarriorregiment.org or fan us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/wwr.usmc.Â For support, call the 24/7 Sergeant Merlin German Call Center at (877) 487-6299.
Story Submitted: Aug 02, 2011 Wounded warriors get back in the saddle
Veteran Sgt. Lee Randles, a native of Holland, Ohio, "cuts" a cow away from the herd during the Wounded Warrior Cutting Horse Classic at the D&M Cattle Company in Nokesville, Va. on July 29. Photographer: Cpl. Jahn R. Kuiper
NOKESVILLE, Va. – The Wounded Warrior Regiment, headquartered at Marine Corps Base Quantico, and Semper Fi Fund teamed together to help Marines on their road to physical and mental recovery by supporting a new horsemanship program. Wounded warriors participated in a clinic which culminated with the Wounded Warrior Cutting Horse Classic at the D&M Cattle Company here July 29.
During the weeklong clinic, eight wounded warriors both green and experienced, enhanced their horsemanship skills in preparation for weekend’s competition. They were taught by Jim McDonough, a national horse cutting champion, along with several other experienced riders.
“We first taught the Marines the basics of riding a horse, which was new to some,” McDonough said. “Then we went over what they would need to know for the competition. They are judged on their ability to move into a herd of cattle and their ability to separate or “cut” a single cow from the herd and control it. They have two and half minutes to separate as many cows as they can individually. The judge looks at how many cows they separate, the rider’s ability to keep the cow away from the herd and the difficulty of the cut.”
Being able to handle horses and get back into the figurative saddle was one of the many ways the WWR helps their Marines on the road to recovery.
“This is such a great opportunity for our wounded warriors to get out into the sunshine, get dirty, and do something fun with fellow Marines,” said Col. John Mayer, the WWR commanding officer. “They learn some great skills and even get to compete for an amazing trophy. This is a chance for these guys to prove to themselves and grow in confidence in their ability to do a physically demanding and competitive event that they might not of thought they could.”
“I’ve rode therapeutic horses in the past, but I’ve never done anything close to this,” said Lance Cpl. Chris Lowe, a wounded warrior native of Ukrane, Texas, suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury. “At first I was skeptical of what I’d all be able to do here, but once I got here and loosened up a bit I knew I could do the work. Also, it’s been great being with Marines with injuries like me. There’s been a lot of camaraderie and friendly competition between us.”
The WWR were looking for more equine events for their wounded warriors to participate in before they stumbled on McDonough and D&M Cattle Company, run by Don York.
“I had heard about the cattle company here in Nokesville and I brought my girls up to see a rodeo,” Mayer said. “I got to know the owner and Jim McDonough and told them who I was and what I do. York told me he not only wanted to share his dream with wounded warriors, but wanted them to be a part of it. He said his facilities were at our disposal. Then McDonough said he would love to help these Marines learn the ropes of cutting horses.”
When competition day came, family of the Marines and WWR staff came and cheered on their wounded warriors.
Though this was the Marines first cutting competition and they started out a bit nervous, they came out gung-ho and showed every bit of skill as a seasoned pro, McDonough said.
At the end of the day it was Sgt. William Broom, a native of Woodville, Texas, who took first place by cutting three cattle in the allotted time.
Though one took the trophy, all the Marines left with a smile on their face and sense of pride in what they accomplished.
“It’s not about what’s happened in the past,” Lowe said. “It’s about what I can do now, continuing to improve myself and enjoying myself while I’m doing it.”
To find more information about the WWR visit www.woundedwarriorregiment.org. To find more information about the Semper Fi Fund visit semperfifund.org. To find more information about D&K Cattle Company visit www.dandmcattlecompany.com.
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