Women in Defense - New England Shoreline Chapter

Member Spotlight - Clark

Christina Clark

“I really believe in what we do at Veteran’s Equine Therapeutic Services.  I want to help Veterans get back what they may have lost while serving, no matter what it may have been, and help them overcome any challenges”

Hi, my name is Christina Clark.  I am a Financial Analyst at Electric Boat as well as a member of Women in Defense and Electric Boat Management Association.  I also am a Business Director, Board of Director's Member, Volunteer and Instructor-in-Training at Veteran's Equine Therapeutic Services.  Below is my story on how I became involved in Therapeutic Riding and Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning.

In Houston, TX, I was working full-time at Boeing and NASA on the International Space Station program.  I had just finished my Bachelor of Science - Double Major in Accounting/Finance and my Masters in Business Administration with a specialization in Leadership, so I had some free time on my hands.  My co-worker mentioned a place that needed a person to exercise their horses called Flying Free Equitherapy (now called Sherlock Farms Therapeutic Riding) in Santa Fe, TX.  My co-worker knew that I grew up with horses in my backyard and I used to compete in Hunters/Jumpers.  I went to the facility and watched some of the Therapeutic Riding sessions.  I fell in love with what the Therapeutic Riding sessions were doing for the kids/adults and decided to volunteer on Saturdays as well as on Thursday evenings.  I loved the horses and had an amazing connection with the kids/adults, so I decided to become an Instructor-in-Training.  Sadly, I had to leave the facility because I was moving back to CT.

Once I moved back to CT in 2005, my late father bought my horse that I leased and I got back into competing in Hunter/Jumpers.  In 2008, I gave my horse back to her prior owner and decided to take a break from competing.  I wanted to get back into Therapeutic Riding and Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning programs, so I started volunteering at High Hopes in Old Lyme around 2009.  I volunteered there for a little while and sponsored one of the horses.  After volunteering at High Hopes, I heard about Horses Healing Humans.

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A friend of mine and the Director/Owner of Horses Healing Humans had booths at a craft fair.  They both started conversing about each others businesses and my friend mentioned that I used to be involved in Therapeutic Riding programs in TX and CT.  The Director/Owner of Horses Healing Humans didn't think that I would be willing to drive all the way from Enfield to Voluntown to volunteer on Saturdays, but, to her surprise, I did starting in Fall of 2011.  We slowly started growing and became limited in what we could do at the location in Voluntown, so we started looking for another facility and the Director/Owner found Starboard Stables in Stonington.  I volunteered from 2011 – 2015 on Saturdays and I also was an Instructor-in-Training in 2015 while there.  In addition, I was on the Board of Directors from 2012 – 2015 and served as the Chair of the Development Committee.  I really enjoyed helping the adults/kids through the Therapeutic Riding and Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning programs at Horses Healing Humans.  

In 2015, I left Horses Healing Humans and shortly thereafter I got a call from some friends that asked me if I would be interested in helping to create a non-profit Veteran's Therapeutic Riding and Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning program as the Business Director, on the Board of Directors, as a Volunteer and an Instructor. I said, “Definitely, I would love to!!!”  Veteran's Equine Therapeutic Services was created in 2015 in Southeastern Connecticut.  

In Fall of 2015, I decided to get a job at Electric Boat in September 2015 as a Financial Analyst, so I could move closer to Veteran’s Equine Therapeutic Services and be even more involved in helping Veterans through Electric Boat as well as Veteran’s Equine Therapeutic Services.  I joined Women in Defense and Electric Boat Management Association to spread the word, so we can help as many people as we can at Veteran’s Equine Therapeutic Services.  

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In 2016. we, at Veteran’s Equine Therapeutic Services, started a Pilot Program at a farm in Lebanon, CT with two horses, goats, farming and an amazing lady who provided all of this to us for free.  We received very positive results from the Veterans that we provided services to, which are free of charge.  I really believe in what we do at Veteran’s Equine Therapeutic Services.  I want to help Veterans get back what they may have lost while serving, no matter what it may have been, and help them overcome any challenges whether physical, cognitive, psychological, etc.  I also have challenges myself and understand the “healing ability” of horses.  Horses have always been my own therapy since I was a child, so I want to be able to help others experience what these amazing animals can do.  It is my pleasure and my passion to be a part of something so wonderful.  

The cool parts of Veteran’s Equine Therapeutic Services are the horses, goats, Veterans helping Veterans, Veterans helping children with challenges, friends working together for a great cause, offering services for free to Veterans and knowing that we are helping others.  This year, I plan on finishing my Instructor Certification and doing what we can to help give back.  To learn more about Veteran's Equine Therapeutic Services, please feel free to contact me, visit our website www.vetct.org and/or check us out on Facebook.   I can also be reached at crsc.clark@gmail.com.