Veterans Voices: DLR Mustang Ranch becomes a calm oasis during tough times

Veterans Voices

SALINEVILLE, Ohio (WTRF) – While many veterans look at their military service fondly, there are others who struggle after they return home. 

Last year 7News introduced you to DLR Mustang Ranch, which was just starting out on its mission to help veterans with PTSD. 

Since then, they’ve expanded, helped many more veterans and have even opened their doors to others who just need help coping with the stress. 

We live every day for this place and it’s just been an amazing adventure.

Dale Lackey, Owner, DLR Mustang Ranch

There’s something about a wild mustang; the understanding look in its eye, a gentle nudge on the shoulder, that comforts and calms. 

Veterans with PTSD have a switch. Normal people who don’t suffer from it have a dial. Meaning, when you feel yourself getting angry you can just turn it off , turn it on, increase it as you choose. Veterans don’t have that option. They go from perfectly calm to out of control at the snap of your fingers, flip of a switch. Working with the mustangs taught us how to control that.

Dale Lackey, Owner, DLR Mustang Ranch

For veterans, youth trainers and even animal lovers alike; DLR Mustang Ranch has become an oasis in a time when we may need it most. 

We’ve kind of been a place where people can come and get away like when they need a break if they’re really depressed. So, this has been someplace where they can get out and relax and just forget about their trouble for a while.

Renee Lackey, DLR Mustang Ranch

It’s so peaceful. When you’re stressed out and you just go out with the mustangs it’s like it almost melts it all away.

Katlynn Wease, Youth Trainer

The loyal group of volunteers at DLR Mustang Ranch spent the last year training more mustangs, building a bigger barn, adding new livestock and welcoming more veterans in need of a safe space. 

It takes away a lot of your mental stress, and it helps you realize bonding is actually really nice and fun. To have an animal that’s bigger than you and you bond with it is pretty amazing.

Mariah Roybal, Veteran

One gentleman come out, we took him out and introduced him to the horses. That’s all it was. We just walked with the horses. Their calming effect is unbelievable. Within 15 minutes his girlfriend said ‘I don’t recognize him as being the man I’ve known since we started dating.’

Dale Lackey, Owner, DLR Mustang Ranch

The mustangs were also on the move, showing their skills at the national Extreme Mustang Makeover Competition in Texas. All the while promoting their mission of helping others by taking these mustangs from wild and scared to tame and forever bonded. 

Seeing these wild horses come in here afraid, scared and then seeing them slowly realize ‘oh I don’t have to be afraid of you’. Seeing them learn and learn how to use their thinking part of their brain instead of their reactive side.

Makenna Eash, Youth Trainer

Just being a part of this place and just getting it started. We love horses, love mustangs, so we just love being here.

Jenifer Eash, Volunteer

With a group of loyal volunteers and a passion for their mission, DLR Mustang Ranch has hopes of expanding, all motivated by the change they see in veterans and others who struggle with PTSD.

The experiences that Renee and I have had the past year, meeting so many people that share the same passion we share, and to be able to see it grow has just been an amazing adventure.

Dale Lackey, Owner, DLR Mustang Ranch

As for what the future holds, Lackey said he has big plans for DLR Mustang Ranch. Those include possibly expanding, adding more youth trainers and welcoming more veterans to the ranch.

If you would like to learn more about DLR Mustang Ranch, visit their Facebook page.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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