What is Horse Aid?
Horse Aid is an Australian for-purpose and not-for-profit registered charity that provides unique, one-day and five-day healing horsemanship programs for Veterans, Serving Defence Personnel and First Responders who are suffering from mental health challenges due to their work serving our community.
Defence personnel and first responders are often left with physical and emotional wounds, and struggle to adjust to life inside or outside of service.
They deeply need support and empathy to overcome their mental health challenges, such as depression, anxiety and PTSD, to rebuild self-esteem and confidence, and to see a brighter future either during or post-service.
We use thoroughbred ex-racehorses in our programs, and our participants learn horsemanship skills to participate in this careful retraining.
These horses often finish their career with mental health or behavioural challenges through no fault of their own. They need support and training to adjust to a new life after racing, so they can find fulfilling second careers as performance, recreational or therapy horses.
Working in partnership, both heroes and horses rebuild trust, confidence and self-belief.
After attending The Five Day Residential Program
One year later
Three years later
*Source: Dr Mel Baker, Evaluation of an equine program developed for Australian veterans with PTSD: preliminary report (2023)
Horse Aid residential programs were halted throughout COVID and were started again in May ’23. We will continue to capture the impact from participants as we run more programs.
From the Thoroughbred & Veteran Welfare Alliance (TVWA) to Horse Aid.
The Thoroughbred and Veteran Welfare Alliance (TVWA) was founded in 2016 by a former Mounted Policeman and qualified riding instructor and horse trainer Scott Brodie and British Royal Marine Commando Adrian Talbot, as part of the Homes for Heroes initiative.
TVWA was borne of the belief that the treatment of veterans suffering anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder needs more work and new ideas.
Having heard about an ‘equine therapy’ program in the United Kingdom successfully treating traumatised veterans, Adrian reached out to Scott to design something similar in Australia.
Scott has dedicated a considerable part of his professional life to retraining ex-racehorses. After leaving the police force, he established and led Racing NSW’s thoroughbred retraining program, where he oversaw the retraining of hundreds of ex-racehorses—and created their Prison Inmate and Thoroughbred Rehabilitation program at St Heliers Correctional Centre, which is still being run with great success today.
Excited by the opportunity to combine his passion for horse welfare with helping his fellow first responders and veterans, Scott volunteered his time and self-funded the programs.
Many programs later, in 2021, a registered charity, Horse Aid, was formed to replace the TVWA, to support and continue these programs for Veterans, Serving Defence Personnel and First Responders.
Here we are today, chomping at the bit to do our bit for heroes and horses.
- Help those who have served us
- Meaningfully improve the quality of life for Veterans,Serving Defence Personnel, First Responders and their families.
- Provide retraining and second careers for Thoroughbred ex-racehorses.
To increase awareness of the significant mental health challenges faced by Veterans, Serving Defence Personnel, and First Responders. To provide effective and ongoing support to these heroes and their families.