Char­ity of­fers skills, hope and pur­pose

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS -

Horse­back UK was set up by a for­mer Ma­rine to help wounded vet­er­ans by us­ing horses to im­prove their re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, mo­bil­ity and con­fi­dence.

Jock Hutchi­son es­tab­lished the char­ity in 2008 with his wife, Emma, and con­tacted his old 45 Com­mando unit to send Marines who had been in­jured in Afghanistan to him for help.

He be­lieves the en­ter­prise can of­fer a pur­pose in life for peo­ple who are strug­gling to find their place in so­ci­ety af­ter re­join­ing civil­ian life.

The char­ity caters to peo­ple who have suf­fered mental or phys­i­cal in­juries – or both – as a re­sult of their time in the forces.

As the ini­tia­tive grew, Mr Hutchi­son hatched an­other idea which has be­come one of its cor­ner­stones by get­ting wounded vet­er­ans to also act as in­struc­tors.

He said: “Iso­la­tion is the great­est dan­ger peo­ple face on the road to re­cov­ery.

“We’re here for that tran­si­tion leg, to let them see they have a pur­pose and a rea­son to help oth­ers.”

The 22 horses the char­ity uses have been cho­sen be­cause they are par­tic­u­larly suited to work­ing with be­gin­ners.

In Fe­bru­ary, the char­ity earned praise at Holy­rood for its “ex­tra­or­di­nary” work.

North-east MSP Liam Kerr said: “The cour­ses and vol­un­tary pro­grammes at Horse­back UK give par­tic­i­pants a place where they can learn new skills while over­com­ing any phys­i­cal lim­i­ta­tions.

“The im­pact that this char­ity has had on the lives of those they have sup­ported has been ex­tra­or­di­nary.”

Ste­vie has formed strong bonds with the equine stars of Horse­back UK, such as Polly, as well as other vet­er­ans

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