A Nova Scotia woman is fundraising for a horse-riding therapy program to help Canadian soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Marcia Chafe wants more Canadian veterans and soldiers who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder to get help through the Can Praxis program. 

Her "Helping Healing" event is raising money for Can Praxis, a riding therapy program based in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, that gives veterans and soldiers from across Canada the chance to learn communication and coping skills.

Chafe and her husband returned from the first phase of the program in November 2013. She said it helped her husband, Eric Chafe, who was diagnosed with PTSD in 2011.

Fundraiser at Bedford Split Crow

The fundraiser features a silent auction, a 50/50 draw and live music at the Split Crow Pub in Bedford on April 26 starting at 6 p.m. 

"My husband's been on quite a few tours and it seemed like every tour when he came back, he was more different, more changed," said Chafe. "I knew for quite a while there was something wrong and I just wanted to try and help him through doing this."

She said it was treated differently than a visible injury, such as a broken leg. "With an unseen injury ... people just don't want to talk about it and I want to talk about it, want to get it out there."

'The more tools you have in your toolbox, then the better the relationship or household vibe is.' - Marcia Chafe

Can Praxis relies on donations, including support from Wounded Warriors, to run its programs, which are divided into three phases. The first phase invites veterans and soldiers with PTSD, along with their spouses, to work with horses to improve their communication as a couple. 

"I know that they don't have enough funding for all three parts of the program," Marcia Chafe said. 

Working with horses has "a mirror effect," she said. "It shows you how clear you're being or how your mood affects people and animals around you."

For the Chafes, many of those skills returned home with them. It's improved her relationship with her husband, as well as his relationship with their teenage son.

Fighting stigma

"The more tools you have in your toolbox, then the better the relationship is or the household vibe is," she said. "There's no tension in the house any more. We can talk to each other. Our son can talk to him, he can talk to our son; it's fantastic."

The fundraiser will do more than earn money for Can Praxis. 

"It's just bringing awareness and it's so important because there seems to be such a stigma attached to PTSD," said Chafe. "We need to get rid of that stigma"