‘I Am A Believer In Second Chances’: Viking Ministries To Offer Recovery, Employment Programs Using Retired Racehorses

Viking Stud, Inc. has stepped back into the Thoroughbred industry, this time with a different agenda.

Mike Littrell, who was a talented and successful Thoroughbred yearling manager for his father, the late Rick Littrell, has battled the epidemic of addiction for over 20 years. After many attempts at recovery and repeated relapses, Littrell started a new journey three years ago with a fulfilling purpose. Through Christianity and surrendering his life to Christ, he has found and sustained sobriety.

Littrell said: “I now understand that humility produces progress, not perfection.”

To get to this point, Littrell kept coming back to three things: 1) He found God and the love of Christ through the fellowship with other recovering addicts. 2) His love for horses that developed on his family farm growing up. 3) His connection and continued support from the great people of the horse industry are all a part of his story or recovery.

This passion to help other people came alive when he could see that his love for horses was able to help others find hope, help, and the wonderful healing ability of the connection with a horse. Littrell decided to combine the two passions into a spiritually-focused ministry called Viking Ministries, Inc., in honor of his family’s Thoroughbred business.

This ministry will use Equine Assisted Psychotherapy/Learning (EAP) (EAL) for its clients. EAP sessions are designed for individuals or groups and will begin with allowing clients to care for the horse and allow the horse to be the therapist.

“I don’t want this ministry to exclude anyone who might benefit,” Littrell said. “I found that loving others through Christ has helped me love myself. I want to help any child or adult who has suffered from abuse, mental health issues, addicts or alcoholics who are in or out of the horse industry.”

Littrell, along with a team of two volunteers, is certified in EAP to work with individuals and groups.

“I am a believer in second chances, not only for recovering addicts, but we want to use as many retired racehorses as possible,” he added.

His insight to the rehabilitation process notices one glaring challenge.

“When leaving addiction treatment, 99 percent are going back to the same environment that was unhealthy for them same as before,” Littrell said. “In order to combat this relapse, we will have a vocational training aspect to our program.”

Littrell will offer a three to six month vocational recovery program.

“Our focus will be for those who have been in recovery at least for three to six months,” he continued. “We want to work with those who are past chemical withdrawal and in need of love, support, career and life skills. Unfortunately, there are many who have not survived this addiction epidemic as long as I have and what that gives me is a great deal of experience in understanding what the addict is experiencing.”

Alongside the Thoroughbred industry, Viking is going to work to find employment for its graduates on Kentucky’s Thoroughbred farms.

“I was so blessed to be raised a horseman,” Littrell said. “Even through my toughest times, my fellow horseman kept trying to pull me back into the light, and I would not be here today without our horse community. I have gotten so much support from industry leaders that I care so deeply about that I want to make a difference that will help the Thoroughbred industry have employees who are dependable and in recovery. With the creation of this program, I am reminded again how blessed I am to be a part of this community.”

The post ‘I Am A Believer In Second Chances’: Viking Ministries To Offer Recovery, Employment Programs Using Retired Racehorses appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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