Carry The Load: Honoring the fallen while continuing to support veterans and first responders in need


“They have really given me a breath of fresh air. Flaws and all they’ve taken me in. And I am greatly thankful for it,” said Army veteran Kara Moser.

DALLAS — There is power and purpose in the work of Carry The Load: the non-profit in Dallas that has reminded us for more than a decade what Memorial Day is really about.  

But there is also power in the diminutive stature of a mini-horse named Ranger. In fact, he could be considered an integral part of the same CTL team.

On a late April weekend in Dallas, in a horse arena at the home of the equine therapy group Equest, Ranger stood calmly and quietly as a group of veterans and volunteers practiced Yoga. And the calming influence of a horse barely four feet tall is exactly why he was there.

“Yes, the third Sunday of every month,”  Angela Escamilla said of the Equest Hooves for Heroes Program. “Veterans, first responders, and their families can come out and participate in our yoga class.” Equest, operating for more than four decades in Dallas, provides therapeutic horsemanship programs for children and adults with cognitive, sensory, or emotional needs. The Hooves for Heroes program offers the same support for veterans, including mental health counseling, physical therapy, occupational therapy, therapeutic horsemanship, carriage driving, and more.

Army veteran Kara Moser is a recent Equest volunteer. 

“The ability to share my feelings when they come up. Good and bad,” she said while standing next to her favorite horse named Thorin, a Shire-Quarterhorse cross. 

Working with him helps Moser with her anxiety and post-traumatic stress. In fact, during our interview, Thorin walked up to give Moser a reassuring nuzzle.

“I think Thorin understands that in me a lot. He senses when I need to calm down and that’s when he steps up and helps me out a little bit,” she said. “He can sense that I’m a little nervous. So he’s like…I’m here for ya.”

“I hope that they see the magical part that the horses bring,” said Equest therapist Debbie Utterbach. “And that they feel connected and accepted like an extension of their family.”

A connection that Kara Moser felt so strongly, that at a flag dedication ceremony that day at Equest, she volunteered to read a portion of her story to the crowd of veterans, volunteers, and their families.

“And I look forward to the continued growth and healing that lies ahead,” she said of the Equest Hooves for Heroes program.

“I sought out Equest because I was at a very low point in my life and I needed help,” she said. “They have really given me a breath of fresh air. Flaws and all they’ve taken me in. And I am greatly thankful for it.”

And thankful that as we pause to remember the fallen on Memorial Day, with the support of Carry The Load and the dozens of organizations like Equest that it supports, the living get help taking the reins of their struggles too.

In the weeks leading up to Memorial Day, WFAA will be sharing more about the work of Carry The Load and the dozens of “continuum of care” organizations it supports

In the meantime, you can find more information here on the “Memorial May 2024” events brought to you by Carry The Load.