Veterans and Active-Duty Service Members Gather for the 3rd Annual Ruck-Up Event

Veterans Equine Therapeutic Services (V.E.T.S.) and Honored American Veterans Afield (H.A.V.A.) recently hosted the 3rd Annual Ruck-Up event, a gathering of veterans and active-duty service members aimed at fostering camaraderie, skill-building, and fellowship. This transformative two-day event, hosted at the Ruck-Up Veterans Adventure School in Southern Connecticut, offers participants an opportunity to engage in equine therapy, outdoor bush crafting skills, traditional archery, and firearms training, all within a supportive and empowering environment.

“It was an honor to partner with V.E.T.S., founded by their Executive Director Thor Torgersen, to host such an impactful event”, said Tom Taylor, H.A.V.A. Chaiman and Executive Director.  “The Ruck-Up is so unique and challenges these veterans and active-duty service members to stretch their limits by participating in several skill building activities.  Our participants love that this event drives comradery while also encouraging them to reach outside their comfort zone.”

Ruck Up is made possible through the generous support of partners such as Lighthouse Homestead and Stables, the Niantic Sportsman’s Club, as well as numerous local businesses and volunteers. These partnerships ensure the continued success and impact of the event to address the sense of loss of purpose and community often experienced by veterans transitioning to civilian life.

Through sessions in equine therapy, participants explore personal empathy, emotional management, and nonverbal communication while working with horses. Outdoor wilderness skills sessions teach discipline, preparedness, and an adventurous mindset during stressful situations. Archery and competitive shooting courses focus on mindfulness, discipline, and follow-through, culminating in competitive skeet shooting and pistol competitions.

Ruck Up represents a beacon of hope and support for the active duty and veteran military communities, with both V.E.T.S. and H.A.V.A. operating as 501(c)(3) charities reliant on donations to continue their vital work. For more information Honored American Veterans Afield:,