South Korea and Japan

To my delight I had the opportunity to make a fourth visit to South Korea and Japan. I felt much more confident about traveling this time. I was less anxious about going a long way in a taxi to Asan-Si, where I would stay with Sarah and Bobby Shechner. 

As soon as I met Sarah, I went with her to sign in as a guest at Camp Humphreys Army Base in South Korea. I was looking forward to meeting soldiers who she had been supporting with Equine Assisted Activities and therapy. Since Sarah completed my CPD course for professional practitioners who wish to partner with horses to support those suffering from PTSD her Equine Assisted Service program has seen an increase in the number of soldiers and veterans requiring the service.

Equine Assisted Services (EAS) could become an official part of a PTS prevention program for soldiers on Camp Humphreys Base and different U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force bases in South Korea. 

Leaving Sarah, I went to Icheon to spend time with Professor Park (Sookie) and her amazing family. Her family all work together to support Steven’s Riding Club and Farm and her new Equine Assisted Service center called Collab. Sookie’s Center is integrated into Steven’s Riding Club. In this wonderful atmosphere, I enjoyed teaching, giving a lecture at a half-day conference, as well as judging at a horse show and riding an ex-racehorse. Her brother, who was an Olympic Three-day Event Rider in his youth, runs this riding school where he trains horses and riders, encouraging both big and small to enjoy each other. He wants his riders to stay calm, enjoy the horse and have fun.

Professor Park and I travelled to Jeonju to spend twenty-four hours with John (Tae -Woon Jung), the head of KATH (Korean Association Therapeutic Horsemanship), and their guest Angelica Trabert from Germany. In Jeonju we had the opportunity to meet Equine Studies students who were studying in the local college. Angelica gave a short talk about her life as a Para equestrian, and I participated in the conversation. 
Jeonju is an amazing town, with so much history and temples- a town from the Joseon Dynasty. This time I experienced both a Korean banquet and became a little bit pink in the face from drinking too much rice wine. After dinner we visited a special tearoom and finished the night drinking excellent tea.

Returning to Icheon and the riding club, I completed my time there teaching EAS techniques for children with Autism. Three members of this club have now received my CPD certificate, and I was proud to see it up on the wall of certificates.

Finally, during my time with Professor Park, I bought a warmer Goose down coat. I was so grateful to have this coat as the temperature was dropping each day, and I felt cold. 

From South Korea I travelled to Japan. Arriving at Haneda airport, Kigkinu Nakata, who is the President of RDA Japan met me. She took me to Yokohama where I had the opportunity to give lessons to children and adults who have severe intellectual disabilities. I also helped with relaxing work for a new horse that had recently arrived at the center. In Yokohama I met EAS practitioners and spent some time talking about the practice sessions.

While in Yokohama I visited an amazing Temple, where I could appreciate not only the ancient buildings, but also the fabulous autumn colors, and especially the red maple trees. I grew up in Britain with a red maple tree in our garden which originally had come from Japan. Now in my senior years, I can see this magnificent tree in its natural habitat. I also visited Chinatown in Yokohama.

From Yokohama I got on a bus and went to Gotemba to stay with Emiko Oto, an experienced therapeutic riding instructor who leads a team of special Olympic riders. At her apartment I enjoyed the pleasure of the hot spring water. Together we visited Okamoto Riding Stables and met with Special Olympic riders and their families, who are all remarkable people. 

In Gotemba I met Emiko’s daughter Erika and enjoyed giving her a fun horseback riding lesson on her beautiful show jumper at her stable in Gotemba.
In Gotemba everyone is under the watchful eye of Mount Fuji, a volcano dormant since the 1700’s. Mount Fuji gives you the feeling that ancestors from past dynasties are resting there, waiting to pop out and give advice. In the sunlight it is a magical mountain and is a symbol of Japan. 

I have had three weeks of meeting incredible people, drinking a bit too much wine, and eating wonderful food. I feel so blessed that I have been able to have this experience and I know that it is all because of the horse.

Report: Exam Results and Findings- Unique EquineStudies School Matriculation

For Youth At-Risk academic life can be exceptionally challenging. Many drop out of the educational system and are left vulnerable, unmotivated, and unable to find satisfactory employment, training, and advancement. In response to this issue, I developed an active learning program for teenagers that offered a school matriculation course for Equine Studies with the possibility of maximum points. This course was divided into three parts and was considered an agricultural science exam through which the students studied the inside and out of a horse, their environment, and comparing their form and development to other farm animals and birds. The aim of the course was to raise their self- esteem and allow them to develop a critical consciousness so that they too would have that sense of ownership, accomplishment, feeling that they were on a par with others by studying for and passing a valuable high school matriculation exam. In this Zoom lecture, I will explain the elements of the course and its specific impact upon the students.
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Mounting and Dismounting Procedures

Do no harm: You are unlikely to do harm to your client/rider if you follow mounting and dismounting procedures to the best of your ability and judgement, and always consider how the chosen method benefits that specific challenged individual. It is vital that practitioners recognize mounting is the overture to the whole therapeutic session and as such underpins everything that follows. Major EAA/T organizations have written their own procedures for safe mounting and dismounting. In this Zoom lecture, I will delve more deeply into detailed mounting and dismounting procedures.
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Equine Assisted Activity and Therapy (EAA/T): Treatment Modality for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Since the Yom Kippur War, Israel has witnessed many of its soldiers returning home from campaigns with severe injuries and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a severe mental health problem – a trauma and stressor related disorder that causes intense fear, helplessness, and often horror.
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