I grew up on a farm near Gnowangerup, WA, and horses have always been a big part of my life. Now I’m a country GP in York. Sometimes I ride to work and leave my horse in the paddock next to the surgery. I’m trying to reduce the hours I work as a GP so I can spend more time practising EAP (equine-assisted psychotherapy) with returned servicemen suffering from PTSD, depression and anxiety. My interest in EAP developed when I was dealing with a series of traumatic life events and noticed how much better I felt after going for a ride. This prompted me to do some research, and I found strong evidence that horses can enhance human potential and enable emotional healing. This was the start of a new life pathway for me. Buck Brannaman, the inspiration for the novel The Horse Whisperer, has become a good friend and mentor. He says: ‘The horse is a mirror to your soul. Sometimes you’ll like what you see; sometimes you won’t.’ My goal is to set up an EAP centre on a property near York. I have five horses and two camels. Camels are also incredibly intelligent, affectionate and highly intuitive. I couldn’t work the hours I do without an occasional ride at lunchtime or after work. I often ride through town and people say — ‘Oh yeah, there’s Dr Susie again’.

Dr Susan Stevenson
York, WA