Who We Are

Suzanne Brown with Muffin the horse

Suzanne Brown

Founder, Executive Director & Co-Facilitator

Suzanne has a psychology degree from Duke University, and a master’s degree in mental health counseling from Capella University. Suzanne’s interest in horses began as an adult when she was introduced to Linda Kohanov’s work on the beneficial and life-changing relationship that can occur between humans and horses. Having experienced the healing that a relationship with horses can provide, her passion is to share this work with veterans. She also saw her uncle struggle and eventually withdraw from life after returning from Vietnam and wishes she could have shared this work with him. She has participated in trainings in equine-assisted learning at Eponaquest and Rancho Bosque in Arizona, as well as in trauma-focused equine-assisted psychotherapy (TF-EAP™) at Natural Lifemanship in Texas. She is a certified Equus Effect facilitator.

Leigh Ann Apanites with a therapy horse

Leigh Ann Apanites

Co-Facilitator

Leigh Ann has an animal science degree from NC State University.  Riding hunter-jumpers and owning her own horse as a teenager helped her manage both adolescence and the additional challenges of depression and anxiety. As an adult, she was introduced to the more structured healing influence of horses through volunteering with a therapeutic riding program and helping friends with their equine-assisted psychotherapy practice. Leigh Ann’s current passion is finding ways to support other people in experiencing that healing influence. Leigh Ann has many friends and family who are veterans, and she is committed to applying her skills and knowledge of horsemanship to support veterans in appreciation for their dedication and struggle. She loves furthering her education in EAL/EFL/EAP and has participated in training in trauma-focused equine-assisted psychotherapy (TF-EAP™) training at Natural Lifemanship in Texas. She is a certified Equus Effect facilitator.

Joe Byers with a yearling

Sue Law

Board Member

Sue studied Special Needs Education with an emphasis on Dance and Music Therapy. After many years of raising her four children, she looked for a volunteer opportunity in the special needs field. That search led her to Equine Therapy. It was a perfect fit combining her passion for special needs and a lifelong love of horses.

Volunteering mostly with children in the early years, she saw repeatedly the magic horses brought to their development. That opportunity then opened the world of Natural Horsemanship to Sue. It gave her the ability to learn firsthand the importance of groundwork and building a relationship with horses. It was there she met Suzanne and Leigh Ann. When Suzanne approached her about Peace Reins, it was a no-brainer.

Sue’s husband Tex is a Navy veteran, for whom she has great respect and admiration for his service as well as all who serve. She has been with Peace Reins since its first volunteer meeting. To be able to share the magic of how horses reach deep into our soul and help us heal is truly an honor.

Ben Carroll

Board Member

Ben is an army veteran and first came to Peace Reins as a participant due to years of struggling with PTSD.  Upon completing the program, Ben had a new understanding of the inexplicable magic of horses and decided he wanted to give back to the program by volunteering.

Ben continues to volunteer with Peace Reins and is currently working toward facilitator certification with The Equus Effect, Peace Reins’ programming.  Ben hopes to help other veterans find peace and healing though the power of horses.