In January of 2012, Jeff and Laura Unsworth had a vision that merged their love of horses with their desire to give back to the community, through the creation of a therapeutic riding program for Military families. On a mission to make this a reality, they have combined a variety of outdoor activities (therapeutic riding, nature hikes, arts & crafts and more) in a peaceful and stress-free farm environment.
It has been said that “You must love Soldiers in order to understand them and understand them in order to help them”. Jeff and Laura have been married and living the “Military life” for over 20 years. They know firsthand the stress that can come along with Military duty and deployments. Jeff has served in the Active Army, as an enlisted Soldier, as a traditional National Guard Soldier, in both an enlisted and officer status, and as an active duty National Guard officer. He served overseas in Operation Just Cause, Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, and Operation New Dawn.
Jeff and Laura recently celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary. It has been their horses that have helped them so much over the years, and they want to share this wonderful healing equine interaction with other Military families.
Horses have been a source of enjoyment and strength in Laura’s life since the age of five. From early lessons and showing to training young horses, Laura has spent a lot of time with these special animals. Some of her experience includes:
Started and trained young horses
- Trained horses of different skill levels and disciplines for clients
- Retrained retired racehorses for hunters/jumpers and fox hunting
- Taught lessons to beginner and intermediate students
- Schooled polo horses for multiple barns
- Multiple awards won, in Hunters Under Saddle, Huntseat Equitation
- Equitation Over Fences, and Open Jumpers.
- Fox hunted with the Potomac, Goshen and Wicomico Hunt Clubs
Jeff and Laura want the Brave HEART Program to be unique in two ways.
First, it not only provides help and healing to the Military member or Veteran, but to their family as well. Second, the program offers not just therapeutic riding, but a customized variety of enriching outdoor activities that address not only the military member, but that also work to rebuild, and reinforce the bonds of family relationships which are stressed due the nature of military service