New therapy farm opening this weekend to help veterans

BOTETOURT Co., Va. (WDBJ7) A horse therapy farm is celebrating its grand opening this weekend in Buchanan.

They're targeting veterans who suffer from traumatic stress and may have trouble adjusting to civilian life. It's a mission close to the founder, Lois Fritz's, heart. As a US Navy Veteran and forensic nurse, she saw people deal with this type of stress and wanted to give people a safe place to go.

It's a non-structured setting with 19 animals on the farm. People can come here with or without their therapist, take care of, or just watch the horses.

Lois Dawn Fritz, New Freedom Farm Founder, said, The presence of a big sturdy animal is able to release feelings with a person that is struggling internally. I also think there's a relationship of trust between the human and the horse, and my mission is to heal humans through horses.

New Freedom Farm became a nonprofit in July and have already helped a few dozen veterans. One of the first came to the farm after serving in the Marines. He says he had trouble adjusting to civilian life, and this helped.

Andrew Lynn, a veteran, said, “Most of the time when we go out places, I'm the one who can't relax and really enjoy myself. My wife ends up spending the majority of the time making sure I'm okay, so coming out here to this place is fantastic.”

The grand opening is Saturday, October 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at New Freedom Farm. It’s at 6118 Lithia Road in Buchanan. It will be held rain or shine and is open to the public.