Equine therapy for ex-service people

Jay Coen connecting with one of the horses from the Dare to Live programme last week - photo James Aiken.
Jay Coen connecting with one of the horses from the Dare to Live programme last week - photo James Aiken.

A NEW equine-assisted therapy which helps ex-servicemen and women to deal with the effects of war was highlighted last week. War veteran Hugh Forsythe and also Sussex-based, ex-Royal Marine, Jay Coen of the band, Johnny Wore Black, visited an East Grinstead farm where therapist Sun Tui is based.

Hugh Forsythe spent time working with a horse which is helping him recover from post-traumatic stress disorder under Sun Tui’s supervision.

The former bomb disposal expert spent time with one of the horses there, 12-year-old Coley and also interacted with a herd of horses.

Hugh said: “You don’t think about anything, you don’t worry about anything, you just go with what’s going on.”

Sun Tui, who developed the horse therapy for people with psychological problems, said: “It recognises in them the real truth of who they really are.”

Dare to Live is a new equine-assisted therapy helping ex-servicemen and women to deal with the effects of PTSD. Using horses’ natural behaviour and their unique qualities, Sun Tui, the founding director of the programme, and ex-forces herself, is able to demonstrate how horse therapy is becoming an increasingly effective tool to help people deal with emotional trauma, stress, depression and addict

She established Dare to Live in 2010 and has been teaching programmes in the field of Equine Assisted Therapy over the last five years. She runs programmes in personal growth and coaching that include addressing trauma and depression.

Her 15 years expertise training includes qualifications in Psychotraumatology, Time Line Therapy® and Hypnosis and is currently working towards a PhD in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Equine Assisted Therapy.

This modular programme incorporating transformational experiences with horses is adaptable to suit a wide range of clients including service and ex-service personnel and their families.

She said: ”Horses embody specific, unique qualities and through their natural ways they are able to show us how our unconscious thoughts or intentions affect everything we do. Horses respond best to congruent communication where our body language and ‘feelings’ match our actions or ‘thinking’.

“The step-by-step process of the Dare to Live programme invites participants to evolve unfulfilling, self-limiting, reactive behaviours into meaningful, responsive actions that have successful outcomes.

“Horses are consistent, non-judgmental, clear, honest master teachers and excel at suggesting to us alternative ways of behaving.”

It is designed to help those with depression and trauma to re-balance and rediscover their true potential using professionally supported, simple and safe non-ridden exercises with horses.

For full story and to read about Jay Coen’s involvement, see Equestrian news, West Sussex Gazette February 8