Horses and their handlers from Cornerstone Therapeutic Riding Center spent two days interacting with Sailors assigned to Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) Sept. 30 and Oct. 6.
NMCSD’s Resiliency Support Command (RSC) invited Cornerstone Therapeutic Riding Center to come support staff members to relieve stress and anxiety associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The “Lunch with the Littles” event paired Sailors with miniature horses, where Sailors got to hand-feed, pet and learn about the animals from Cornerstone Therapeutic Riding Center’s staff and volunteers.
“NMCSD’s RSC wanted to provide their staff with some respite from the stresses they’ve been facing, as well as introduce all of the departments to beneficial programs that support health and wellness for their patients,” said Judy Beckett, Cornerstone Therapeutic Riding Center’s founded and executive director. “We transformed the softball field at NMCSD into a horse playground with six miniature horses in three separate corrals, and three big horses that cruised the field, meeting hospital staff.”
The event was attended by more than 50 Sailors and staff, and Cornerstone Therapeutic Riding Center aims to continue providing wellness events like “Lunch with the Littles” more often.
Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 1st Class John Rodil coordinated the event on behalf of NMCSD's RSC.
"The initial planning stages were tedious," said Rodil. "We had to get permission from the Patient Safety Department to conduct the event in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions and Morale, Welfare and Recreation's permission to use the softball field. The 11 staff volunteers helped keep the event safe, and all of the puzzle pieces came together beautifully."
NMCSD’s mission is to prepare service members to deploy in support of operational forces, deliver high quality healthcare services and shape the future of military medicine through education, training and research. NMCSD employs more than 6,000 active duty military personnel, civilians and contractors in Southern California to provide patients with world-class care anytime, anywhere.