Cash with Cole (and Teva!) (New Freedom Farm photo)

Equine therapy has long been considered a go-to for army veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For U.S. Army Sgt. Clint Cash, horses have been a life saver. He started going to Virginia’s New Freedom Farm a few years ago, having served a tour of duty in Afghanistan. And now, New Freedom Farm have presented Cash with a rescue horse of his own, Cole, named for the Navy warship USS Cole which was bombed in an al Qaeda suicide attack.

Cole first arrived at New Freedom Farm on Memorial Day of 2021 after being rescued from an outfit running a cockfighting ring by Harmony Farm Sanctuary, a non-profit group that specializes in rescuing farm animals. At the time, Cole had a deep fear of people; considering New Freedom Farm’s mission of helping veterans facing PTSD, substance use, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and other conditions through interactions with equines, this was the perfect place for Cole to heal from his traumatic past.

Once at New Freedom Farm, Cole developed an immediate bond with Sgt. Cash, who had served in the Army for four years and was involved with the farm. Sgt. Cash has faced struggles since returning from war, and the two understood each other. Cole went from not being able to be touched, to enjoying human interaction. “I started taking a liking to Cole because he didn’t like anybody else. It gave me something to try harder for, to try and get him to come to me,” Sgt. Cash told a local news station.

Seeing how Cole and Sgt. Cash interacted together, New Freedom Farm founder Lois Dawn Fritz decided to make the black gelding a permanent resident at her farm. She presented Cole to Sgt. Cash, along with a special New Freedom Farms coat that he earned through his hard work. The video is beyond touching:


New Freedom Farms was started to help veterans and first responders using equine therapy, along with farming and peer-to-peer support. The organization also runs a wild mustang program that pairs mustangs with veterans for “gentling and training.” Anyone interested in making a donation can find a link on their site.