Today we’re looking back to September 2021, when Total Equine Veterinary Associates’ own Dr. Jay Joyce, Navy veteran, answered the call to assist the BraveHearts Therapeutic Riding & Educational Center’s Trail to Zero Ride - The Ride to End Veteran Suicide as their event’s equine veterinarian. The Trail to Zero Ride, that Dr. Joyce assisted, was a 20-mile ride thru downtown Chicago, IL to raise awareness to veteran suicide while also helping the veterans on the ride to heal and advance their horsemanship. The Chicago, IL ride was the second ride within Trail to Zero Ride’s five rides that took place in 2021. This annual event means a lot to the Total Equine Veterinary Associates (TEVA) team, especially Dr. Joyce as it was his third time assisting this organization.
Dr. Joyce said, “Nothing but respect for BraveHearts Therapeutic Riding & Educational Center. They're solid in their vision to spread awareness. 20 veterans commit suicide every day and they don't have too. Outfits like this exist to intervene and help change the veteran's deadly course. And WE just need to identify the individuals that may need help and turn them on to these groups. Our awareness helps them.”
Although Dr. Joyce doesn’t participate in Trail to Zero on horseback, his responsibilities to the organization, its riders, and the horses were of utmost importance. The day of the 20-mile Trail to Zero ride began early as Dr. Joyce followed the team comprised of about 14 veterans. Once the group convened at the George Richard L. Jones Armory the start, the group is escorted by Chicago Police, both mounted and unmounted. With every turn, the military symbolism and monuments serve as strident reminders of the organization’s mission of awareness and prevention of veteran suicide. The riders and crew spent nearly eight hours traversing the city – one mile for each veteran lost to suicide every day – ending at Soldier Field. Dr. Joyce’s care of the equine team didn’t end there as he examined them before the horses and riders headed back for well-deserved rest.
“Thank you to the Bravehearts Team for your hospitality and confidence in my ability to take care of your incredible horses. I appreciate our partnership and know it will last for many years.” – Dr. Joyce
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