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Canberra Today 22°/26° | Tuesday, February 27, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Film shows how horses help traumatised veterans

Veteran Mel gets to know Baz. Photo: Michael Booth

A moving, life-affirming film where traumatised ex-racehorses and military veterans get a second chance will have its Canberra premiere on Wednesday night.

Set in the NSW Southern Highlands, the feature documentary, “The Healing”, directed by Nick Barkla, traces a journey of recovery as the horses and veterans learn to trust each other and both groups begin to overcome their fears.

The film is predicated on the fact that horses and vets are both highly trained specialists. Retired racehorses being retrained by Scott Brodie for second careers as equestrian or recreational horses help veterans regain their confidence and focus, return to work, and repair relationships with family and friends.

Scott Brodie teaching veteran Georgie. Photo: Michael Booth.

You see the veterans and first responders, many of them dealing with trauma, anxiety, depression, homelessness and suicide, gradually re-engaging with these sensitive but powerful animals.

And for the horses, it’s a new lease on life.

The film won the won the Beyond Blue Best Film for Hope and Resilience in the Veterans Film Festival in 2022 and was played to all staff of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide around Australia in March.

Sydney and Brisbane screenings have sold out and the film has been shown in Europe and Asia.

“The Healing”, Palace Electric Cinema, November 1, followed by a Q&A with director Nick Barkla, horseman Scott Brodie and military veteran Mel Baker.


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Helen Musa

Helen Musa

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