A Saratoga County organization that uses horses to assist veterans suffering from psychological wounds has received a donation from Proctor’s Theatre from ticket proceeds.
Saratoga WarHorse, a Wilton-based nonprofit received, an $8,900 donation from Proctor’s.
The money is a portion of the ticket sales to the play War Horse, which premiered on the Schenectady stage January 15th.
Peter Hughes, marketing account manager for Proctors, said knowing the work that Saratoga WarHorse does to provide an experience for psychologically wounded veterans, and the connection with the name of the play, prompted the partnership.
"We reached out to them, we brought them in and talked a little bit about our show, which they were very familiar with and had seen, and we talked about their program and we all decided - ourselves, the producers of War Horse, the marketing agencies - that this was not something that we'd like to do, but that we had to do," said Hughes.
Bob Nevins, founder of Saratoga WarHorse, said the confidential program helps participants deal with the problems that will affect returning veterans for decades to come.
"We call it an experience because we are bringing in veterans who have reached the point-of-no-return in a lot of cases," said Nevins. "With the issues of Post-Traumatic Stress, and record suicides, they're trying to find a way of reconnecting with themselves emotionally."
Nevins thanked Proctors and the community for supporting the play, and said the donation will be used to assist veterans access the program.
"It helps pay for their transportaton, their lodging. It also subsidizes the horses and helps pay for the horses to participate in the program," said Nevins.
Cast members of War Horse also got the chance to meet the off-the-track Thoroughbreds involved in the healing programs at Saratoga WarHorse.
Danya Tietzen is a puppeteer in the War Horse production; she interacts with “Joey,” the elaborate horse puppet in the play. To learn her role, Tietzen said she and the other performers had to undergo training to gather an understanding of how horses communicate.
Tietzen said there are parallels between the characters in the production and the work being done with veterans at Saratoga WarHorse.
"The connection that people have with a horse or with many animals - but I think horses are so special - and the connection that Albert has in the show is something that is really personified by what they do here," said Tietzen. "And it means a lot, I think, for us to find a real-life situation to touch-in with."
War Horse runs through January 19th at Proctors in Schenectady.