The Jinx McCain Horsemanship Program is part of the Semper Fi Fund’s Team Semper Fi Recovery through Sport Program. It provides confidence building horsemanship clinics to wounded, and critically ill and injured service members, and gives them the opportunity to learn basic horsemanship and more advanced skills, to include the competitive side of horse and rider. Since the horsemanship program started in 2011, it has provided over 300 service members and veterans, the opportunity to saddle up and experience the joys of riding a horse and working cattle.
The program is dedicated in memory of Col Jinx McCain, USMC. Jinx was a 4-time Purple Heart recipient from Iwo Jima, Korea, and Vietnam. While stationed at Camp Pendleton, California in the 1960′s, Jinx would host trail rides for wounded veterans from Vietnam to support their recovery.
We focus on building horsemanship skills primarily through conducting cowboy activities. Clinics we’ve conducted in the past include cutting horse training and competition; rodeo type events such as barrel racing, pole bending, and tie-down, ranch, and team roping; mounted shooting; team penning and sorting; mule packing, and cattle branding and drives on historic ranches throughout the west. We bring in top instructors, working cowboys, and expert horsemen and women to teach horsemanship skills and guide us through the more technical aspects of each activity.
No matter the seriousness of the wound, illness, or injury, or whether the warrior is an “old hand” at riding or just starting out, we’ll do our best to fit each wounded warrior with the right horse and equipment for a safe, enjoyable experience. Our participants benefit physically and mentally by working with the horses, learning new athletic skills, and sharing in the experience with fellow service members.
In addition to learning horsemanship and cow working skills, during our non-riding hours we typically conduct a “cowboy craft” learning how to make useable items from leather, metal, and other materials. In past clinics, riders have made leather chinks, cowboy wrist cuffs, rawhide honda’s, silver scarf slides, and tally books.
The Jinx McCain Horsemanship Program conducts clinics throughout the year and is open to all wounded, ill, and injured post 9/11 service members and veterans, as long as they are Semper Fi Fund members and meet the physical requirements.