Helen Mark is in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire to find out how horses and the natural landscape of Royal Deeside are helping wounded and serving military personnel. Set up by ex-marine Jock Hutchison and his wife Emma, Horseback UK is a charity aiming to provide a safe and secure environment for soldiers returning from active service or those that have already left, many of whom have suffered injury or acute stress as a result of active service. The charity uses equine therapy and the value of the great outdoors and nature therapy to provide part of the rehabilitation process for serving personnel and veterans from the UK military. Helen hears from Jock about their hope that those who have lived their lives on the edge will benefit from the opportunities available to them in the peace and tranquillity of the countryside and the quality of life this offers. Fundamental to this is the relationship with the horses and the style of Western riding which gives these guys the experience of being a cowboy high up in the saddle and looking down on countryside that they might previously not have noticed as they passed through. Mixing equine therapy, nature therapy and adventure training the aim is for people to learn about opportunities in the Scottish countryside, including game-keeping, horsemanship, fishing etc. while getting to know their local community. Helen hears from Jay Hare and Rick Anderson, two of the people who have benefited from the centre, and also from Eric Baird at the nearby Glen Tanar Estate, one of the areas that is supporting the charity by encouraging people there to become involved in conservation work. At the heart of everything are the horses and the way in which they are used to integrate the people they carry on their backs into the community and countryside of the Royal Deeside landscape.
Presenter: Helen Mark
Producer: Helen Chetwynd.