Local NewsVeteran’s Voice


Combat veteran, former Raiders player partner to give struggling veterans get another shot at life

Posted at 8:21 PM, Feb 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-10 23:23:58-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — In this week’s Veterans Voice, a combat veteran partners with a former Raiders player to give our struggling servicemembers another shot at life.

Oftentimes the traumas of conflict come back with our freedom fighters, and horse therapy is giving some of them a new outlook.

At Shiloh Ranch, they are re-purposing the horse so that they can re-purpose the veteran.

“We have a saying here that 'my therapist lives in a barn,'” said JP Hoffman, combat veteran and founder of the Liberty Projects.

Hoffman is an Army veteran who has seen action in Central America, Africa, and the Middle East. When he lost his lifelong friend to suicide in the military, it made him re-evaluate.

“Why didn’t I see it? Why didn’t I take him to dinner that night when we were together? I kept going through what did I miss? It led me to ‘I can do more,’ and so that’s how this was born," Hoffman said.

Equine therapy out here is as much about the horse as it is for the veteran — both working to give each other a sense of purpose.

“If you’re having a bad day and are in a bad mood and snapping at everybody that you love, you can’t do it to them because they’ll mirror it right back to you — and they weigh 1,000 pounds,” he said.

The veterans he helps are commonly trying to overcome post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

“I don’t like the ‘disorder,’ because it sounds like there is a character flaw in there somewhere,” said Hoffman. “And to me, no, you can go through anything traumatic and create that. The military just happened to go through more traumatic events in a shorter period of time.”

Hoffman is not out here alone. He has partnered with a former Las Vegas Raiders player to keep his dream above water.

“JP is a brother,” said Jay Schroeder, retired Raiders player. “We got to be so close that I consider him a brother. We’re family. And when he wanted to do this project, I couldn’t say no.”

The ranch is totally self-funded, having about 18 veterans come through the therapy so far.

“I’ve always had a soft spot for veterans, because they allowed me to go play a game for a living,” said Schroeder. “Think about that, I got to go play a game because I lived in a free country, and that doesn’t happen around the world. The more I can help them live a normal life when they come back — let’s do it.”

And when someone develops that bond with the horse and turns over a new page on life — that is all the evidence Hoffman needs.

“My hope is that when they are thinking that and when life’s got them beat down, that they give me one more day or give themselves one more day,” said Hoffman. “That makes it worthwhile.”