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  Welcome to Willowbend Farm, Inc.


Nancy Bell, PhD

Missoula, MT 

November 27, 2019

To Whom This May Concern:

I am very pleased to write a letter of enthusiastic support for the equine therapy program Herd2Human, created and administered by Jeff Patterson of Clinton, MT.

As a mental health professional, I hold a PhD in Psychology and have been involved in various aspects of the field for a number of years. I was an assistant professor at the Florida Mental Health Institute at the University of South Florida; the Florida Director of TeenScreen, a Columbia University-based program that evaluated teens for psychological issues and suicide risk; and Director for the Florida Commission on Mental Health & Substance Abuse.

I have also been involved for years beginning in 1992 as a mental health professional on Florida’s Region 6 Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Debriefing Team. I taught courses in CISM and counseled first responders suffering the effects of traumatic incidents on the job.

Since coming to Montana, I have worked closely with Jeff Patterson on Herd2Human, writing materials and acting as mental health support during their six-week programs. I have seen first-hand, over and over, the often life-saving difference this program has made in the lives of veterans and others suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD and suicidal ideation. I have witnessed and heard numerous testimonies from men and women who have been through the program and experienced immediate and long-lasting relief from their symptoms. “Life saving” and “life changing” are phrases I have heard often from graduates of Herd2Human, unsolicited and heartfelt.

The individuals who have gone through the Herd2Human program report that the changes in perspective and attitude and relief from their burdensome symptoms is long lasting, and therefore they can’t help but be part of and contribute to resiliency and better mental health in their own communities. There is clearly a ripple effect at work.

I cannot endorse Herd2Human and Jeff Patterson’s leadership, skills, compassion and dedication highly enough. This groundbreaking program truly makes a profound difference. I’ve seen it first hand and many times, and I urge you to lend your support to Herd2Human.

Please feel free to contact me with questions or for more information at or 813-731-0900.


Nancy Bell, PhD

To whom it may concern:

The purpose of this letter is to strongly endorse the Herd 2 Human (H2H) program created, directed and administered throughout Montana by Jeff and Darlene Patterson.

My name is Tim Rahn; I am a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel residing in Missoula. My wife (Ann) and I are both from Great Falls and have travelled the world throughout “our” 30-year Army/10-year Federal career; we are blessed to be back home in Montana for our final chapter. During my career as an Air Defense/Missile Defense soldier I was blessed with many successes and I wanted to give back to Veterans. As a volunteer I was introduced to the Patterson’s and immediately understood this was a crucial program that has and will continue to help Veterans and their families!

As a volunteer I attended the program to better understand how H2H benefits Montana Vets; I wanted to be an advocate and knew I needed to understand the inner-workings of H2H. Tongue in cheek, I certainly didn’t “need” anything from H2H, just an understanding for the previously mentioned advocacy…I was wrong. I ended up addressing issues I didn’t know were issues and became a better husband and family man by following just a few of the tenets of the program.

It is important to understand that H2H benefits Vets, and therefore Vet families because it helps them confront and work through predominant Vet issues: feelings of inadequacy and hopelessness; frustration with non-Vets (“you don’t understand me because you haven’t experienced what I have”), and the anger caused by a myriad of other issues. The program is organized and well-thought out and really does make a difference using a variety of proven techniques.

H2H has been around for several years. There are more than a few success stories for Montana Vets and non-Vets. The most dramatic success stories involve individuals dealing with hopelessness, the most prevalent cause for suicide. Suicide is a dramatic problem in Montana; it is even more problematic for Montana Vets. This program actually makes a difference for those who need help in this area; this is proven by “graduates” from H2H who are still with us after previously contemplating suicide.

This program IS making a difference in our state but can do more! H2H has the potential to improve communities, cities, and counties in Montana, one troubled person at a time. The program has two major stumbling blocks: First, the program needs positive dissemination. It is not “just another equine program.” It’s not therapy; there shouldn’t be a stigma attached to attendance. Secondly, H2H needs money to continue serving communities and to grow into a more wide-ranging program.

Without a doubt, H2H attendees are dramatically better-off due to the program. The program’s tenets are easily applicable, and more importantly, make a sustained, lasting difference to all involved…those who’ve attended, and those touched by the attendee(s). Again, as a Vet I strongly endorse this program and hope you will do the same.


Letter of Support Herd 2 Human

To Whom it May Concern,
I am writing a letter of support for Herd 2 Human, in Turah, Montana. I am from Montana, born in Bozeman and currently residing in Missoula. I am a Registered Nurse, Warriors At Ease Level 1 & 2 Certified: Fundamentals of Teaching Yoga & Meditation in Military Communities, and 200 HR Core Power Yoga Certified. I am a mother of four boys ages 5-9 and am grateful for members of the community, such as Jeff & Darlene Patterson, who are working tirelessly to provide support and a program to those most in need, especially our veterans and those suffering from PTSD.

I had the good fortune of meeting the Patterson’s in 2013 and our relationship has continued to grow and strengthen over the years. I have had first hand experience working with them and their program in the Fall of 2017 and then again in 2018. This was a beyond a wonderful experience. Seeing the transformation of recipients at the start of the program compared to at the end was really amazing and inspiring. Long lasting change to make our community more resilient is apparent in seeing the change in participants from the beginning of the program to the finish, in that they are developing lifelong coping skills that will make them stronger and healthier members of our community and world.

Health benefits of participating in Herd 2 Human include stress reduction and tools to combat anxiety and depression. Promotion of emotional health and resiliency have also been noted. This program may also help fight addiction and provides a space for sharing and a community of support that extends even once the program has ended. The weekly sessions during the duration of the program provide consistency, and a true space for healing to occur. The combination of circle time sharing, meditation, shared meals, partnered with equine bonding provides a platform for long lasting change and transformation to occur. I am grateful for my relationship with Jeff & Darlene and think they are worthy of funding so they can continue this valuable and life changing work.

Most Sincerely,
Holly Swenson, RN
(406) 207-5029
Missoula, MT 

Lydia Schildt

Missoula. MT

November 25, 2019

To Whom it may concern,

I am writing this letter in support of the Herd to Human program. I have worked with Jeff and Darlene Patterson on many occasions. I have a bachelor's degree in psychology and I present on I listorical Trauma which is defined by Maria Yellow Horse Braveheart, as a cumulative emotional and psychological wounding, over a lifespan and across generations, emanating from massive group trauma. I have had the privilege of presenting within the Herd to Human program and have been able to see Jeff in action. As a Blackfeet woman J appreciate the cross-species cornmunication that JefT teaches his students during the I-lerd to Human program. Indigenous people have always used this type of communication and build relationships with animals and nature. I also understand the healing affZ•ct tlvat this type of relationship has on people with traumas.

My children have been going to Jeff and Darlene to take horseback riding lessons. Jeff and Darlene use the concepts of Herd to I Iuman to teach my kids to communicate and learn how to have a relationship with the horses. I went through a divorce and my youngest child was having a hard time. When my kids began lessons my youngest was very reserved and not to excited to go. Once she began to understand how to communicate with the horse, she was excited to go to every lesson. I have seen her confidence grow and her over all mood change due to working with the horses. That was a few years ago now she wants to own her own horse and is more confidant and has come out of her shell. I give credit to the horses for helping her and of course to Jeff and Darlene as well.

I believe this program is key to healing for our communities and should be incorporated into healing practices. This can and has worked for many people dealing with any type trauma. I lerd to I luman has my full support. If you have any questions for me do not hesitate to contact me, my information is above. Thank you.

Lydia Schildt

Valor Equine Therapy Service, Inc.

P.O. Box 5547

Kalispell, Montana 59901

(406) 212-5486

October 11, 2019

Valor Equine Therapy Service, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) non-profit serving the Flathead Valley and beyond.

Ken Gemlich, head of the Montana Department of Higher Education for Veterans, approached us with an interesting "partnership" prospect with Willowbend Farm's Herd 2 Human Program.  Upon meeting Jeff Patterson and reviewing his program, Valor determined that THIS was the program we needed to help Veterans and First Responders. This Herd 2 Human program fills the void here in the Flathead community for helping with community resilience, mental health, PTSD, and other emotional issues.

Talking with individuals that have taken part in the program we found there was a HUGE benefit to the individuals and to the Flathead Valley as a whole. The Herd 2 Human program fits and fulfills all our needs in helping Veterans and First Responders.

In addition, Valor's intent is to partner and team up with USOH and Herd 2 Human to search for Grant Funding and collaborate on our programs.


Lynn Murray,


Valor Equine Therapy Service, Inc.

Female veterans post course evaluations


Missoula Urban Indian Health Center - Regaining the Warrior