Trails for Heroes

Healing our Military Veterans

This webinar explores how trails are helping injured service members recover from both the physical and unseen wounds of war.

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Event Details

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March 24, 2016

10:30 AM to 12:00 AM (Pacific Time) {more time zones}

11:30 AM to 01:00 AM (Mountain Time)
12:30 PM to 02:00 AM (Central Time)
01:30 PM to 03:00 AM (Eastern Time)


FREE for members
FREE for nonmembers


Closed Captioning is available for this webinar.
Learning Credits are NOT available for this webinar.

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Webinar Outline



View video of the trailer for the documentary "Riding My Way Back" (mp4 9.7 mb)

Hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding trail therapy programs for our nation’s wounded veterans are proving to be among the most successful methods of helping our injured service members overcome the ravages of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). America’s trails are providing some of the best healing, challenging, and confidence-building environments to help America’s military service heroes.

A national panel of hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trail program leaders share their military veteran on-the-trails programs and success stories. Trails are helping many war-injured service veterans become stronger in mind, body, and spirit. Become a part of this national effort to provide trail experiences to help injured service members recover from both physical and unseen wounds of war in your own community, organization, or land management agency.

You can purchase the 30-minute full documentary film "Riding My Way Back" for $20.00 online:

View the presentation from the 2015 International Trails Symposium... (pdf 3.2 mb)


Webinar Partners


Jan Hancock, Principal, Hancock Resources LLC
Phoenix, Arizona

Jan is the author of two books, the “Equestrian Design Guidebook for Trails, Trailheads, and Campgrounds” published by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, in partnership with the USDA Forest Service, Missoula Technology and Development Center, and the guidebook titled “Horse Trails in Arizona.” She is an equestrian recreational facilities design consultant with her company, Hancock Resources LLC, and is a national speaker at trails and equestrian conferences and webinars. Jan has lived in Phoenix, Arizona over the past 40 years.

Jan has a Bachelor of Science degree from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ, and a Master of Arts degree from Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ.

Jan served on the Arizona Governor’s Growing Smarter Oversight Council and is the equestrian representative on the American Trails Board of Directors. She served a 9-year term on the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board and the Design Review Standards Committee. She was the past president of the Arizona Trail Association, the nonprofit support organization for the 800-mile Arizona National Scenic Trail, a border-to-border route that travels through lands managed by Federal, State, County, and Municipal agencies. Jan is a founder and the executive director of the Maricopa Trail + Park Foundation supporting the 315-mile Maricopa Trail, a loop spur trail system in the nation’s second-largest counties in the nation. Jan is also a founding member of the Sun Corridor Trail Alliance, supporting the planning and construction of a 1,500-mile urban-centric trail system from Douglas, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada.

As an equestrian facilities and trails consultant, Jan has completed numerous master planning and trail system projects for cities and land management agencies across the United States. She is currently working on equestrian-use trails and trailhead planning for the City of Milton, GA, the City of Big Bear Lake and Big Bear Valley, CA, the Five Winds Ranch in Yucaipa, CA, and the Lake Arrowhead Trail System Master Plan in CA.

The daughter of a veterinarian, Jan has been horseback riding since she was three years old and has been horseback trail riding most of her life. She credits the remarkable saddle horses she has owned over her lifetime with the inspiration and passion for her career as an author and designer of equestrian-use outdoor recreational trails and related facilities.


Sirena Dufault, Arizona Trail Association

Sirena Dufault is the director of the Arizona National Scenic Trail Gateway Community Program. Sirena developed a multi-faceted approach to facilitate a relationship between trail users and the 33 towns along the trail while promoting area tourism to stimulate local economies. She became involved with the Arizona Trail Association in 2007, helping to build many miles of trail near Tucson, and hiked the 817-mile Arizona Trail in 2008-2009. In 2014, she completed the Arizona Trail Trek, a thru-hike fundraiser to promote the trail and highlight the Gateway Communities with multiple events and public hikes and backpacking trips. Sirena came to Arizona from Chicago for her Bachelors Degree in Anthropology and Classics from the University of Arizona and has enjoyed exploring Arizona through hiking, backpacking, rafting, canyoneering, and her blog Sirena's Wanderings. Sirena just completed leading a 3-month Warrior Hike on the Arizona National Scenic Trail on May 16, 2015.


Joe Coddington, Project Hero

Joe Coddington proudly served as a US Marine from 1990-1995. As an avid cyclist before and while serving, Joe was a USMC National Cycling Champion and continued cycling at the professional level until 2008. In 2004, he founded a youth cycling nonprofit that still operates today in his hometown, Asheville, NC. Upon retiring from competitive cycling, he worked for the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team. Now a resident of Camarillo, Ca., Joe works with Ride 2 Recovery to bring his unique life experience to improve the Veteran experience on the rides and outreach to involve more communities. When asked about R2R he will tell you, “I have done a lot with bicycles. I have felt the thrill of winning and the disappointment of losing. I have seen the impact that cycling has on kids and enjoyed it all. But watching what happens to these men and women that served when R2R gets them on a bike and they rediscover life, I have no words except that this is what bikes were meant to do.”


Debbi Fisher, Training Director, Hope for Heroes Equine Therapy Consulting

Debbi Fisher is currently the Training Director for Hope for Heroes Equine Therapy Consulting, who helps people all over the world start programs for our Veterans with Equine Therapy. She was previously a certified instructor for the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, a nonprofit organization that has more than 800 accredited centers worldwide with 8,000 horses that provide equine-assisted activities and therapies. As a military widow, Debbi has founded the largest horse therapy program in America servingveterans. She is a leader in the PATH International “Equine Services for Heroes” Committee and she travels nationwide providing training to other PATH International instructors at their centers. Debbi lived, worked and trained for PATH personnel in the northwest for many years, including Bend, Oregon and Rainier, Washington. Her special area of expertise is working with military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder traumatic brain injuries. The combination of developing trust and riding skills with horses, and undertaking trail riding challenges have helped heal military veterans since the program began in 2010. Debbi shares her enthusiasm for a research study underway at Baylor University in Dallas, Texas, noting, “This study will demonstrate the true effectiveness and dramatic healing success of therapeutic horsemanship in treating PTSD with our nation’s military veterans.”


Aaron Heliker, Trainer, Hope for Heroes Equine Therapy Consulting

Aaron Heliker enlisted in the United States Air Force at 19 years of age, and after his training was completed, he had multiple deployments stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. His health was compromised by traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and he became unable to continue his military service. Aaron was prescribed 42 daily medications, and he became suicidal. Feeling desperate and isolated, Aaron was introduced to the nonprofit PATH International Equine Services for Heroes program by Debbi Fisher. She paired Aaron with a horse named Fred, and through caring for Fred and building mutual trust, Aaron began the difficult process of reconnecting to the world around him and healing the invisible wounds of war that nearly defeated him. Aaron, now successfully regaining his health, lives in Portland, Oregon and has become a trainer, working directly with military veterans in the PATH International Equine Services for Heroes program, and he is helping train PATH International instructors offering these programs at their centers. Aaron asks the trails community, “Let’s do all we can to preserve and provide access to trails, because trails bring unique, effective opportunities for healing to our nation’s military veterans.”


Closed Captioning

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1,826 views • posted 02/06/2018