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War Horse Challenge Rider,
Chris Manley

United States Army, Special Forces

My good buddy talked about (War Horses for Veterans) and said it would benefit me. I didn’t know much about it besides what he told me. He asked if I wanted to go with him and I said yes. I figured he wanted a battle buddy to go with, but in reality, I think he saw something that I needed, and this was it.  On day 1, just last November, having never ridden but being a natural athlete, I expected to get on the horse, put the work in, and succeed. I was in for a rude awakening when I realized the horse doesn’t respond to the energy I was putting out. I needed to center myself before he was ever going to consider doing what I wanted. I remember getting on Dr. Pepper and getting nowhere with him. It was a frustrating and humbling experience. 


I think that my military upbringing challenged me in many ways, mostly to learn a new skill very quickly, “drinking through a firehose” is the saying.  I took that approach to riding. I knew we were going to be roping so I spent every evening practicing so that by the third and fourth day I could rope from the back of a horse, or at least try to make it look good while I attempt it. 


First and foremost, it’s an honor and a privilege to represent an organization I wholeheartedly believe in and has done such great things for the Veteran/LEO/First responder community. This is an amazing experience that I will never forget. It’s not just about the horsemanship, it’s about the comradery with my fellow veterans, with the cowboys that have coached us along the way, and the folks at War Horses for Veterans.  Patrick Benson always talks about being a part of the family and this has felt like an incredible adventure with my Warhorse brothers. 


Russell, Taylor, and Chris are true patriots. If anyone understands sacrificing time from family it’s people in the military. These guys spend more time away from their families to spend time training us. On top of that, they are spending time away from their livelihood. I can’t say enough how appreciative I am of them.

- Chris Manley

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