[00:00:00] Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for tuning into the Drive On Podcast where we’re focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran active duty guard reserve or family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio.
[00:00:18] Scott DeLuzio: And now let’s get on with the show.
[00:00:21] Scott DeLuzio: Welcome back to the Drive On Podcast. Today, my guest is J.R. Smith. J.R. Is the vice-president of The Veterans Ranch, where they provide healing workshops for veterans through the use of horses. J.R. Joins us today to discuss the work that The Veterans Ranch does and how it’s been helping veterans and how it can help the listeners or your loved ones if they’re in need of this type of service.
[00:00:49] Scott DeLuzio: So without further ado, welcome to the show J.R.. And glad to have you here. Thank
[00:00:53] J.R. Smith: you so much. Pleasure to be here and welcome to everybody out there. Watching and listening to.
[00:00:59] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, absolutely. [00:01:00] So why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself, your background, a little bit about who you are just for the listeners who may not be familiar.
[00:01:08] J.R. Smith: Yeah, absolutely. We’ll again, I’m J.R.. Originally Midwestern boy, born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri moved to Florida in 1999. Met my lovely wife of now 22 years. I heard native Floridians were hard to come by. So I found one. I liked it, plucked her out of the pack, but been in and around.
[00:01:27] J.R. Smith: Country living my whole life. I was, it was always funny. I was the country boy that grew up in the county, right in the eighties and St. Louis. How almost anywhere in the eighties, unless you lived in that climate boots, buckles and hats, wasn’t really the thing, right? You were looked at funny. Now, certain cities I walk into, I still get looked at funny, but definitely did in the eighties.
[00:01:50] J.R. Smith: But I was always more comfortable out in the woods, more comfortable on boy scout trips, hunting trips, and all that kind of stuff. Love where I grew up. Don’t get me wrong, but was always more [00:02:00] comfortable with my head in the. So when we moved down here in 1999, my family, my mom and dad, and everything moved shortly right behind me.
[00:02:09] J.R. Smith: And my dad’s a Vietnam that his dad was a world war II vet. My dad’s brother was in the Navy Vietnam era. His, just his ship. Didn’t go back to Vietnam at the time. So I’m a gen X-er that was raised by Vietnam parents who had world war II, parents who had post-depression parents. Essentially what you always hear about gen X-ers are, this is when you’re born is when your die.
[00:02:35] J.R. Smith: We don’t care about your feelings. Go make a difference in that dash, you know? And that’s our legacy. That’s what The Veterans Ranches does. That’s our dash. We got. For a long time, we’ve been sick and tired of being sick and tired of seeing how our veterans were treated when they got back.
[00:02:52] J.R. Smith: Yes. There’s a thank you for your service by a cup of coffee, those kinds of things. But the, honestly, how certain [00:03:00] organizations treat them deny until you die. Here’s another pill. My dad’s been fighting certain things since 2013 and still trying to get improvements on things, but, slow the drip wears the marble is the government, right.
[00:03:12] J.R. Smith: So we knew there were other ways and other things. Could help the veteran community and this coming from a proud Patriot. My wife and I are Patriots. We’re the 99% that’s port. Y’all the one percenters that wore the uniform. We love dogs. We, there’s a lot of amazing dog programs out there.
[00:03:31] J.R. Smith: I’ve personally had a dog in my house since I was about eight years old. I’m now 49. That being said, horses have an intuitiveness to them. If y’all watch Yellowstone, you’ve heard of, where they talk about it, but we’ve been preaching this long before that was ever a show. Horses can feel a gnat land on their back.
[00:03:50] J.R. Smith: That means they know everything about you. 10 feet away. Right. There’s actually been studies done where horses will get their [00:04:00] heart rhythm in line with your heart. No, they’re just absolutely amazing animals. So we were looking for something to do with veterans and with horses had no idea what direction to go.
[00:04:14] J.R. Smith: Well, my dad always taught me to keep a legal pad by the bed in case get an idea in the middle of the night. I’ve had a lot of legal pads that really didn’t go anywhere. This one legal pad has one word scribbled on it and it says. I almost couldn’t read it the next morning. It was like three o’clock in the morning, October 17.
[00:04:32] J.R. Smith: Now my wife and I always wanted a couple horses are a little slice of Americana. The word ranches. We know it. You think these big Florida, Texas ranches and things like that, that didn’t really come into our mindset, but the good Lord works in mysterious ways. We’re going to bass pro shops one day, a few weeks later, we stop at Chili’s.
[00:04:53] J.R. Smith: I asked my wife for a pen. I take every napkin that’s on the table and started writing down ideas long and [00:05:00] short of it. About 20 Chili’s napkins later, the ideas for the veteran’s ranch was born. And by December of 17, we were an official nonprofit right now. It was complete out of the pan end of the. We knew what a non-profit was, but now we had to get our message out there and let people know we existed at that time in a world of about oh, 35,000 nonprofits that existed, that deal with veterans.
[00:05:27] J.R. Smith: Well, there’s now over 46,000 nonprofits out there that deal with veterans. So, we have to have a loud megaphone to keep our voice out there. Here’s what we do. We’re going to start by simply putting one of these in your hands. . Okay. Now there’s about four or five different types of these, depending on the part of the horse you’re grooming or how dirty the horse is or anything at the time, the point is we’re going to start putting grooming brush in.
[00:05:53] J.R. Smith: Your hand gets you to start working arrhythmic motion of grooming that horse. Now, what are you doing? You’re putting your hands on the [00:06:00] horse. You’re feeling the horse. The horse is feeling you’re getting to know each other, but inevitably what you’re doing is you start forgetting about the world. I’ve been in sales since I was 18, before I started doing this and let’s face it.
[00:06:13] J.R. Smith: I’m selling you right now. The whole point of what we used to always say is leave your baggage at the door. When you start your shift, it’ll be there when you get back. And hopefully you pick up a little less of it when you leave. That’s the point of what we’re trying to do with the horses. Get you to lay down heavy coats of burden and walk off a new and improved version of yourself.
[00:06:35] J.R. Smith: That’s the key.
[00:06:38] Scott DeLuzio: And it’s interesting how intuitive the horses are and how they’re able to pick up on little subtle things that you and I, we wouldn’t perceive some of these things. You said how they could get their heart rate in tune with the person who’s standing next to them or even a little gnat landing on their back [00:07:00] such huge animals.
[00:07:02] Scott DeLuzio: And they notice this little, teeny tiny, almost microscopic organism landing on them. Right. It just almost doesn’t seem to make sense that they would do that. But at the same time, I can see how working with a horse. So an animal that is just naturally. Probably going to be a little bit more skiddish.
[00:07:25] Scott DeLuzio: They’re more of a prey animal than they are a predator. And anyways, right. So, just in their nature, they’re going to be a little more skittish and maybe less trusting of someone. So if you’re walking up to him with this big ball of tension and everything, that’s probably not going to be. So willing to just stand there and let you groom them or anything
[00:07:46] J.R. Smith: like that, right?
[00:07:47] J.R. Smith: Yeah. That’s exactly right. When you said horses are prey animals, it’s right on the money. They’re pack animals out in the wild with you see a pack of wild Mustangs. There’s always one. Right. But they travel in [00:08:00] packs because, safety and numbers, because a horse has defense mechanisms or bite you or kick you.
[00:08:06] J.R. Smith: And it hurts like hell, if you’ve ever had to any one of those things happen. But if something’s trying to kill you, that’s not much of a defense mechanism. So you’re walking up to a horse and you’re nervous. You’re angry, not anything in particular. You’re just angry at the world. The horse is going to project what you’re feeling back to you.
[00:08:29] J.R. Smith: So it might kind of rear up or not what you touch it or try and bite you or kick you because a horse wants to know two things. This is a horse in a nutshell, are you strong enough to be my leader? And are you going to hurt me? Now you’ll spend your whole life working on that with your own horse. Imagine you just met one, five minutes ago and you’re only working with it maybe 30 minutes or an hour.
[00:08:54] J.R. Smith: Now think about how fast you got to do it, but at the same time, you’ve got to slow yourself down. [00:09:00] You going to stop thinking about thinking, right? And just start mellowing out to a point where that horse goes. Starts licking his lips, and start feeling what you’re feeling. Okay. He’s relaxed. So now I can come up to him or her a little bit and see where we’re at from there.
[00:09:21] J.R. Smith: Yeah.
[00:09:21] Scott DeLuzio: And just thinking about things from the horse’s perspective, right. We can’t put ourselves in the horses mind or their body or anything like that to know exactly what they’re thinking. But just watching some of those nature shows when you see but the predator who’s about to go pounce on whatever the animal is, the prey, right.
[00:09:41] Scott DeLuzio: They’re coiled up right there. They’re like creeping up and they like kind of lean back and they’re all coiled up like this big ball of energy. And then they pounce right. I’m not so sure if a horse can tell the difference between coiling up to go and pounds, or, that, that energy, that [00:10:00] you’re releasing that anger or things like that, maybe they can but I gotta imagine that they probably still have some similar some similar hesitation to being around that type of Person, right?
[00:10:11] Scott DeLuzio: Oh,
[00:10:12] J.R. Smith: absolutely. We all have the fight or flight syndrome. Right? Well, horse’s flight 99% of the time. If it doesn’t know what its situation’s going to be, it’s just easier to run away and it is to cause you can’t really stand it. It’s no different than us as people. Okay. If you’re doing something and all of a sudden, just out of that corner of your eye, or you get that sixth sense that something’s going on and it could just be one of your buddies coming to mess with you.
[00:10:38] J.R. Smith: Right. And they’re coming to run up to you real fast. What happens? You get net sometimes fight and flight at the same time, you’re like, and that’s exactly what a horse. A horse doesn’t know maybe exactly what’s going on, but it just knows it doesn’t feel comfortable in the situation.
[00:10:55] J.R. Smith: It’s situational awareness. Times 10 is a horse. [00:11:00]
[00:11:00] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And it seems like the horses are so well in tune to that situational awareness to the point that, we maybe can’t even comprehend that they’re able to. Let the person who’s working with them kind of know, Hey. Pumped the brakes there with whatever it is that you’re doing right now, because that’s not okay with me.
[00:11:23] Scott DeLuzio: And that might be a good trigger to help the veteran or whoever is working with them to let them know. Okay, well maybe I really need to focus more on what I’m doing here and not be so much in my head. Right.
[00:11:37] J.R. Smith: That’s the key. I mean, that’s what I’m saying. You got to stop thinking about.
[00:11:41] J.R. Smith: You have to give yourself to the horse. One of my favorite horse trainers, Chris Cox, out of Texas he says all the time, we always try and put more man into the horse. We need to put more horse into the man is what you really need. You need to. Listen to what that horse is telling [00:12:00] you, but it’s not with these deaths, right?
[00:12:03] J.R. Smith: It’s your heart feeling? What that horse is doing? You’ll know when that horse relaxes you’ll know when that horse tents. Because then you tend to tense up sometimes, and then the horse tenses up even more and you got to be like, oh crap. I gotta, I gotta relax. I’ve had people a brief story.
[00:12:21] J.R. Smith: We do a trail ride here about two years ago and we always pair everybody up with their horse, make sure they’re comfortable. Give them some brief riding lessons. Cause on trail rides, it’s pretty simple. The one horse follows the other for the most part, but we like to make sure just in case everybody has the basics of horsemanship.
[00:12:40] J.R. Smith: We had a married couple. He was active duty air force. She was retired air force. Now she’d written dressage for like 20 years. She was in her element. Well, Hey, we always bring you can’t tell me sitting here. Okay. I’m 6, 4, 2 60. We always bring up big boy [00:13:00] horse down for guys. My size. We brought. Okay. Now for everybody that may not be familiar with different types of horses, we all know what a Budweiser Clydesdale looks like.
[00:13:09] J.R. Smith: Right. Shrink that horse down just a little bit. And that’s a Belgium. Okay. They’re work horses. They were plowed versus and things of that nature. So, but they’re gentle giants, truly gentle giants. So we’re getting everybody paired up and the woman, the wife comes over to me J.R.. You gotta to help me.
[00:13:28] J.R. Smith: He’s cursing me out. He’s mad. He wants to go home. He’s all upset, none. Well, we paired him next to the Belgium. Here’s what I. He’s five, five with boots on. Okay. I’m looking at Withers, which is what the horse’s shoulders are at. Eye-level this dudes like looking at ribs. Okay. I will never speak to anyone.
[00:13:50] J.R. Smith: Like I wore the uniform will not have that level of disrespect. I always have veterans with, I brought a Marine with me, I [00:14:00] guess, Marines just loved to make fun of airman. The general ribbing between branches. And I’m telling him what’s going on. He starts laughing and I’m like, oh crap. I don’t know where we’re going with this, but I’m like, you got this.
[00:14:12] J.R. Smith: He’s like, oh, I got this on the air. I’ll respectfully clean up what he said, but he’s like, what’s wrong with you? Airman. You’re worse. You can’t get up on a horse. You go back to Okinawa and you can’t get up on a horse. The hell’s wrong. Uniformed uniform. You could break him down a little bit right now. It didn’t last too long.
[00:14:32] J.R. Smith: Cause we weren’t trying to make the situation worse. He just wanted him to think about something else. Other than that horse. So we said what’s wrong, serious. He goes, guys, I’m from the Bronx. All you had to say, we all started laughing at that point. We knew what he meant his city boy through it through SUNY boy.
[00:14:51] J.R. Smith: He’d never seen the mountain patrol in central park. He’s a dogs running through the neighborhood restraints. And you want me to get on this thing? Long story [00:15:00] short, we get him on the horse. We finally, but 30 minutes later get him company. Getting the horse to relax, letting him see how, when he would breathe, the horse would breathe.
[00:15:11] J.R. Smith: We send him out on the ride, made sure we had an experienced rider front and back of him just in case he comes back ear to ear grin on his face. We had coolers full of Powerade, water and stuff like that. We get him off the horse, needless to say, he’s walking a little funny. So we’re razzing him about.
[00:15:31] J.R. Smith: And he said, can I ask you a question? We said, yeah, sure. He said, well, let me go get a power. He comes back and he said, Can I go out on the next ride? His wife was in immediate tears. Okay. That’s the good Lord and a horse coming together. We don’t take credit for any of that stuff, right? I mean, he just said, here’s go forth, go do this.
[00:15:52] J.R. Smith: And we bring everybody together. He went out on the second ride. We asked the guy whose placed we were using for the day. We said, Hey, you got [00:16:00] any frozen peas? And the freezer came back. We tossed him a bag of frozen peas. He’s kind of like screw you guys, but you have no idea how much that helps. Right. But the bottom line is that guy.
[00:16:16] J.R. Smith: I was able to overcome a fear. He didn’t even realize was a fear and was able to go back out to Okinawa with his chest, stuck out a little further saying, man, y’all, ain’t going to believe what I just did over the weekend. Right. And that’s the power of what we do.
[00:16:33] Scott DeLuzio: It is powerful too, because it just goes to show that it’s not just for the country, boys or girls.
[00:16:42] Scott DeLuzio: Right. It’s. Anybody really, but the kid from the Bronx or from LA or from wherever, I mean, they can find some benefit in this. They can overcome fears. Even like you said, fears that they didn’t even know they had, they may [00:17:00] end up overcoming those fears just by. Literally getting on the horse and going for a ride.
[00:17:06] Scott DeLuzio: And if you can do something like that, which such big, powerful animals that can really, I mean, at the end of the day, if they wanted to, they could do some serious damage to you. Right. And if you can overcome that fear and get on the horse, go for the ride. What’s stopping you from doing just about anything else, right?
[00:17:27] Scott DeLuzio: That just seems so powerful. That’s the
[00:17:30] J.R. Smith: key. A lot of people don’t realize how they, unless you’re in the horse world, how they measure horses. When they say a horse is 18 hands, they measure it like this. Okay. So this is what about four or five inches. So, it’s one hand to hand three hand.
[00:17:43] J.R. Smith: This horse was about 1900. Okay. It’s from the Hough to the Withers top of their shoulders. And, I mean, I use stairs, get on a horse like that and I’m six, four. So we definitely had him using stairs, but that’s the key, [00:18:00] here’s an animal that can literally give you the ride of your life can put you in the dirt, could do all kinds of things, but can teach you so many things about life leadership partnership.
[00:18:15] J.R. Smith: That you don’t learn in a lot of places cause it’s just not taught as widely as it used to be back in the day. And that’s just truly the key of letting go of whatever you’re hanging. I, everything I talk about, I learned from veterans, I had a veteran tell me one time, his definition of laying down heavy coats of burden.
[00:18:34] J.R. Smith: When it comes to horses, he said, look, the demons are going to come. It’s inherent. But when they come, you don’t let them take you to the dark places. They once took you, you process the information differently, cause it’s not better or worse. It’s just differently. So you can compartmentalize it, deal with it, put it aside and reach back and help that next better and help them and teach them how to [00:19:00] help others.
[00:19:01] J.R. Smith: So now fellow veterans are not in isolation. It’s not shut down. And, compartmentalize all that stuff and just shove it down. You’re reaching back and helping fellow brothers and sisters go, Hey, I’ve been there. I know where you’re at. I got a program for you. That’s going to. You may think it won’t trust me because veterans will trust other veterans more than they’ll trust me.
[00:19:25] J.R. Smith: I’ve got the biggest heart in the world, but I didn’t walk in their boots. Right.
[00:19:31] Scott DeLuzio: And that’s a good point too, because someone comes out to your ranch. They work with the horses for a period of time. And I want to get a little bit more into the program and what you guys actually do to But it’s not like the taking the horse home with them, that they’re going to be having this horse available to them, to just pick up anytime they’re having a bad day and just start working with them to get them focused and let go of whatever that burden is that they’re carrying.
[00:19:59] Scott DeLuzio: [00:20:00] So ultimately they have to learn how to work with work through whatever it is. If they’re dealing with. In a healthy way. Right. So then they can take that and help other people out in th this has that, that exponential, like kind of multiplying effect where you help this one person, that one person can then go help, 10 more people.
[00:20:26] Scott DeLuzio: And then those 10 people help 10 more people. And then it just blows up from there,
[00:20:31] J.R. Smith: right? Yeah.
[00:20:33] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, exactly. That’s a good point. So, so what exactly is a program? So if I’m a veteran, I’m dealing with some stuff and I want to get involved with The Veterans Ranch and work with some horses to see how that might help me.
[00:20:49] Scott DeLuzio: What’s the steps look like. What is the whole process of these workshops? That we go through.
[00:20:55] J.R. Smith: Sure. First things, pretty simple. Obviously reach out to us emails, [00:21:00] [email protected] or just hit us through the website itself. The Veterans Ranch dot. You can do that. We just want to talk to you.
[00:21:08] J.R. Smith: You want to find out where you’re at, find out if you need assistance with anything. There’s usually some things that go in before. If they’re willing to share that. Right. I mean, we don’t force anything on anybody. If you want to share, I’m good at flapping my gums, but when it comes to talking with veterans, God gave me two of these.
[00:21:24] J.R. Smith: And one of these, I use these proportionally, I use them twice as much. Do you need any help? Cause we have resources. I mean, I’ve got an eight page PDF document of vetted veteran organizations, meaning they do what the hell they say they’re doing. And we might be able to get you some initial help with some things you need right off the bat.
[00:21:43] J.R. Smith: Then we’re going to schedule different things. Okay right now, we actually for the last four and a half years, just so everybody’s clear, we’ve been running this out of our home. Okay. I mean, we use other people’s horses, other people’s facilities as often as humanly possible to get out there and do stuff.
[00:21:59] J.R. Smith: So [00:22:00] we’ll do trail rides. What we’re really into now. Cause I’ve taken some courses in it is what’s called Liberty training, Liberty training. Is you a horse and a round pen and a training. That’s it? No lead ropes. No, halters meaning you can’t pull in tug on that horse to try and get the horse to do what you want to do.
[00:22:22] J.R. Smith: You have to build the bond of trust with the horse to where you’re working together. Okay, so not here too far back. Beginning of the year, actually we did a full weekend. It was camping, fishing and Liberty trip. It was really cool. We brought out about 20 vets and some plus ones. Cause we work with the immediate household family too, because the family serves just as much as the one wearing the uniform.
[00:22:46] J.R. Smith: It’s just a different brigade. Right. They’re wearing a different, tiny uniform. So give you another example. We start working in this big round pen. We have a home plate smack in the middle of the round pen, put the horse in, let the horse [00:23:00] just kind of get comfortable with his surroundings. Then your job is to open up the gate.
[00:23:05] J.R. Smith: And if the horse you talk about intuitiveness, okay. The horse turns said looks at you. You got to stop. He can’t walk in. Like you just don’t go. Okay. I’m going to the center now. Cause again, that horse doesn’t know why you’re coming from. So you started walking. So we’re walking every time it looks at you, you got to stop until it quits paying attention to you.
[00:23:24] J.R. Smith: Get to the center of the arena, then work on getting that horse to come. Okay. Now when that horse comes to you, you don’t pet it. Like it’s a dog, cause what people need to learn is horses learn in the release. What I mean by that is when you’re trained to educate a horse on doing something when it does something right.
[00:23:44] J.R. Smith: Stopped, because then it goes, Ooh, they stopped. I must’ve done something. Right. They process the infamous. When you stop teaching. So I’ll give you an example. I was working with a wild rescued Mustang. [00:24:00] I already told you my size, this horse was 15 hands and 1200 pounds. Everybody’s kidding around going, man, which alpha males given up first in this arena.
[00:24:09] J.R. Smith: Right? So I get the horse to come to me. I spent the next hour and a half working with this horse because Mustangs are more stubborn than almost anybody. We all heard the phrase stubborn as a mule. Oh, Mustangs are right there because they’re used to being wild horses and doing whatever they want whenever they want.
[00:24:29] J.R. Smith: So I started getting this horse after about 45 minutes. And you want to keep the horse on the outside and you in the middle. Okay. But we’re walking shoulder to shoulder, we’re following each other. And like, we’re just two guys going to have a beer. All right. And then I stopped and I turned around to go the other way.
[00:24:47] J.R. Smith: Well, he was sneaky. He cut behind me and now he’s in the middle of the arena and I’m on the outside and everybody’s like, oh, isn’t that cute? The horses leading J.R. Around. So what do you gotta [00:25:00] do? You gotta stop. You got to start over. You can’t get mad or upset. You got to start get back in the middle again and keep.
[00:25:08] J.R. Smith: And then, so we were able to do that. And after about an hour, hour and a half, I eventually, I turned my back to the horse in the center of the arena. Now you really puzzled. It goes like, okay, he stopped, but he turned his back to me. He’s not paying attention to me, why he comes over and he puts his head over my shoulder and lays his head right here, but still they’re learning.
[00:25:28] J.R. Smith: So you still can’t reach up and pet them like you want to eventually he works his way around. And then at a certain point I’m able to pet it. We actually had a couple of veterans really make some serious breakthroughs. During that weekend, they actually had two different horses actually come up and put their nose right in their chest.
[00:25:48] J.R. Smith: And they just melted. Now we can’t run in and start group hug in and everything else. Cause we’re going to freak the horse out. We get them to come out of the arena slowly and then we’re all over supporting them, [00:26:00] hugging them, loving them. I might be 64 to 60, but I’m a big Teddy bear, man. I, I’m right there with you, you know?
[00:26:06] J.R. Smith: Cause I’m trying to feel what you’re feeling. Well, come to find out later that night around the campfire because you know who doesn’t talk around a campfire. He started sharing a story. At 19 years old, he spent nine months in the brig choose to something he didn’t do. Now. At the end of that nine months, he was acquitted.
[00:26:28] J.R. Smith: All charges are dropped. They found out what was going on. But at 19 years old, man, that’s got to mess with you. You just spent nine months in jail for some you knew you didn’t do. And when that horse touched him right here, No, this guy knows in his late twenties, early thirties. So you’re talking 10, 15 years down the road.
[00:26:49] J.R. Smith: It was still hanging on to it up here. Started Melton that off. That’s the kind of stuff we’ll do throughout a weekend. Some days it’s just simple trail ride. We show [00:27:00] up if you’re still getting familiar with your horse, but we’re having fun, you’re going out on the trail ride, I’m bringing out or I’m cooking some barbecue while we’re there.
[00:27:10] J.R. Smith: Again. I’m originally from St. Louis. I know how to smoke me some meat and we’ll just have a good time. Sometimes we bring out the mobile VA. See if anybody wants to share, get some information from someone, but I’m very clear on one thing. They’ll tape recorders, no pencils. You better have a darn good memory.
[00:27:32] J.R. Smith: If you want to remember something, because how was it when we were kids? That’s how I relate this. If you broke the lamp, dad knew who broke the lamp, but if you knew there were no repercussions. You admit, you broke the length, otherwise your brother or sister did it for you to know who did it. Right.
[00:27:51] J.R. Smith: That’s why we ask counselors plates do not record anything. Don’t, if they want to share. Just let them [00:28:00] get it off their chest. Now we will write letters on behalf of that veteran, if they’re trying to step up another percentage in their benefits saying, Hey, yeah, Bob went through this class, made great improvement is still continuing to come to the class.
[00:28:16] J.R. Smith: We feel he should get as his advancement, but we will not say what we talk about. Yeah. W that again, that’s a bond of trust, especially between a civilian and the fact that that veteran shared that with me that night, I take that as a pride. Most people have no idea how not even pride.
[00:28:40] J.R. Smith: How humble I was that he felt comfortable enough with me to share that story with me. Those are just a few of the kinds of things we’ll do on events.
[00:28:49] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And talking about that trust you have. Pretty much your whole organization is working with these horses to build trust. Right? [00:29:00] And then if you go off and break that trust that you’ve built with these individuals these veterans, or their family members or whoever then that kind of just goes against everything that you’ve been working towards.
[00:29:12] Scott DeLuzio: So it exactly makes sense. And. Of course, do you want to do right by the veterans you want to do right by the people who are coming to you and trusting you with everything that you have to offer. And so, it just makes sense that that’s how you would operate and it seems like that’s exactly what you’re doing.
[00:29:28] Scott DeLuzio: So. For people who aren’t sure if this is right for them the city boys who, who might not know about whether or not they should be able to get out there working with horses or even if it would be beneficial to them, are there certain issues that seem to work better through working with horses or certain personality types that are more agreeable with this type of type of work as opposed to others?
[00:29:52] Scott DeLuzio: How can someone evaluate for themselves to determine if coming to you coming to The Veterans Ranch even makes sense,
[00:29:58] J.R. Smith: Just get in touch with us and come [00:30:00] out to an event. Try it. You’ll like it. It’s just, it’s because I can talk about it all day long when you experienced. It’s an absolutely amazing thing.
[00:30:09] J.R. Smith: I was back in 2020 when the Wrangler national finals rodeo came to the Dallas Fort worth area. I spent, I drove out there from Lakeland, Florida, which is halfway between Disney world. Tampa drove, spent 10 days out there promote the charity cause we’re registered in Texas as well to do business there.
[00:30:27] J.R. Smith: So. I got on a radio show and I’ll plug a 12 and sideshow for 99% radio. Sideshow is a veteran. He said he went through an equine therapy program. He’s a J.R.. And he admitted this on the air, which is huge. He’s a, J.R. I made more progress in 10 minutes with a horse than 10 years and three failed suicide attempts laying on the couch.
[00:30:54] J.R. Smith: I didn’t know what say, first of all, I didn’t know he was going to say that. And second of all, it [00:31:00] just akin reinforces the power of the horse. Here’s a guy. Now, this guy was another new Yorker. Okay. He may now live in Texas, but he was a new Yorker through it through he’s city boy. So, again, given the opportunity.
[00:31:16] J.R. Smith: And if you’re willing to be teachable and coachable, we always talked about that. In sales trainings, you gotta be willing to give yourself to the horse, willing to give up what you’re hanging on to. And it look, it’s not perfect day. I mean, good Lord. There wouldn’t need to, I would need to be around that long if I could just one episode with a horse and you’re cured, it’s an ongoing process and people right now, we’re on a, about in four and a half years, we’re on a 67% success rate of ones that actually admit to us that they have some kind of PTs going on because that’s the only way we can track it.
[00:31:54] J.R. Smith: Is it, they admit it. And then the ones that come back and see. These [00:32:00] things are really helping me. We’re on a 67% success rate and for something I’m running out of my house, I couldn’t be more proud of my wife, my dad, my advisory board that helps us with all this to get that kind of success rate going in such a short period of time.
[00:32:18] J.R. Smith: So just come on out and try this. Watch, just look around, see if it’d be something
[00:32:22] Scott DeLuzio: for you. And it’s an incredible, but. In such a short time period since he started this, that you get that much success coming through there. And it was probably a little more difficult.
[00:32:36] Scott DeLuzio: A couple of years ago when people weren’t willing to maybe travel quite as much things like that. But yeah, I mean, 2020 was held for just about everyone. I can imagine nonprofits were probably even worse off than a lot of other businesses. Especially for in-person things this is, to me, it sounds like, just a great way of.
[00:32:56] Scott DeLuzio: Of doing things you’re outdoors, you’re [00:33:00] working with the animals. You’re just putting in that effort to not only improve yourself, but improve the relationships that you have with other people by working through these horses. And one of the things that before we started recording, I mentioned is that I like to highlight.
[00:33:18] Scott DeLuzio: Just call alternative treatment options. Things that are not your traditional talk therapy. We think about PTSD, other mental health conditions. And a lot of times we just think of the people sitting on the couch and the therapist’s office and like, that’s the only option that’s out there right now.
[00:33:36] Scott DeLuzio: And there’s some people who just aren’t comfortable with that type of thing for one reason or another. So when I get the opportunity to to talk to someone like yourself who provides an option outside of that traditional talk therapy type of thing I’m excited to be able to share this resource to hopefully reach more people and let them know that there are other options out there for them.
[00:33:58] Scott DeLuzio: And so with [00:34:00] that said, Where can people go to get in touch with you again? I know you mentioned the website before, but if you have any other ways that people can get in touch with you, that would be great where they can get in touch with you and find out more about the
[00:34:12] J.R. Smith: veteran’s ranch. Yeah, absolutely.
[00:34:14] J.R. Smith: And thank you again for having me on here today and our organization. We really, like, as I said in the beginning, grassroots, Right now we’re shaking hands, kissing babies, we’re politicking, but we’re telling the truth. Right. So you can go to The Veterans Ranch.org. We’re on all the socials, probably ones you’ve never heard of or just starting to hear of we’re on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn getter.
[00:34:40] J.R. Smith: Yeah. We’re out there. There’s plenty of ways to find us and get out reach out to us and get in touch with us and. If it’s on your heart, if you’re looking for a nonprofit to give to even the red cross doesn’t run on peaches, roses and fluffy bunnies, they run on cash and of course we apply for grants and things, but those aren’t guarantees that you’ll get [00:35:00] anything or maybe you get partial funding, but it’s usually a.
[00:35:03] J.R. Smith: Oh six months sometimes before you find an answer on that. So here’s what I’m asking everybody, watching and listening today is the easiest request you’re ever going to hear. We’re asking for 22,000 people to go to that website and pledged $22 a month. It’s less than one night out with a family of four.
[00:35:26] J.R. Smith: I can’t tell you the last time I was even able to go out with me and my wife and my daughter for 22 bucks, right. With inflation being what it is. Now we understand things are tough out there for people right now. Hey, I’m paying 125 bucks to fill up my . I get it, but we can all find $22 a month to give to something that matters.
[00:35:48] J.R. Smith: You’re saving lives. Because our overall mission here that we haven’t talked about yet kinda end with this is the veteran suicide rate. We know 22 a day. [00:36:00] Well, let me give you some truth since COVID, it’s now 35 plus a day on it, 22 a day has sadly become a marketing campaign, pushup challenges, fingerings bracelets, things of that nature.
[00:36:14] J.R. Smith: And you just hope that when you buy those things, the money’s gone to the right place. Well, folks, I can tell you right now you pledged $22 a month to The Veterans Ranch. It’s going to the right place because getting only the word horse and cheap never go together. So The Veterans Ranch.org check out the information.
[00:36:34] J.R. Smith: $22 a month is a small price to pay to help save veterans lives.
[00:36:41] Scott DeLuzio: Absolutely. Well said, and I think for anyone who’s listening out there, the link to the website and the social media will be in the show notes. So if you’re interested in getting involved for yourself or a loved one who wants to. Get the benefit of [00:37:00] equine therapy working with the horses definitely check out the website.
[00:37:03] Scott DeLuzio: And for anyone who feels like this is a worthy cause who wants to support it? You’re absolutely right. $22 a month. It seems like, these days that. That can go a long way. And you’re right. It’s less than the cost of going out to, even a cheaper meal, you’re not going to get it for that much.
[00:37:23] Scott DeLuzio: So, definitely I think we can find 22 bucks to help support The Veterans Ranch and the veterans who will benefit from it. So, J.R.. It’s been a pleasure speaking with you today. Thank you again for coming on and sharing everything that The Veterans Ranch. It’s our
[00:37:36] J.R. Smith: pleasure.
[00:37:39] Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to check out more episodes or learn more about the show, you can visit our website, driveonpodcast.com. We’re also on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube at drive on podcast.