In the search for a champion, thousands of racehorses are discarded each year by the Australian Racing Industry. Many experience trauma, misery and death. After serving their country, thousands of Defence Force personnel retire each year. Many experience health issues, homelessness and suicide. In fact, since 2000, almost thirty times more military personnel and veterans have died by suicide than have been killed in combat. The Healing tells the story of how these two traumatised groups are brought together to heal each other in a groundbreaking new rehabilitation program run by the Thoroughbred and Veteran Welfare Alliance.
Set against the stunning backdrop of the Australian countryside, The Healing is an inspiring journey of recovery that immerses us in the emotional drama of two very different worlds.
The stakes are literally life and death for the horses and humans participating in the Thoroughbred and Veteran Welfare Alliance's equine welfare program. All were highly trained, regimented and of great service and value to their employers, but were then discarded and left to fend for themselves. Their previous skills have rendered them useless in the 'real world', and they now face dire futures.
The two vulnerable groups are brought together by professional horseman Scott Brodie, whose unique system of retraining teaches them new skills that build trust, patience and confidence. In an extraordinary mutual healing, the horses are retrained for second careers as equestrian, therapy or recreational horses. The veterans regain their pride and focus, return to work and repair damaged relationships with family and friends.
Not only is the Thoroughbred and Veteran Welfare Alliance's program saving the lives of horses and humans, it provides compelling evidence of a rehabilitation system that has the ability to revolutionise the way the Military and Racing Industry responds to the crisis afflicting veterans and ex-racehorses. Urgent change is needed and we need to act now.
This study guide to accompany The Healing has been written for secondary students in Years 10–12 in the following learning areas:
- Health and Community Care
- Mental Health
Teachers are advised to consult the Australian Curriculum and curriculum outlines relevant to their state or territory for further information.
The Healing is also a valuable resource for students undertaking certificate and tertiary studies in:
- Animal Care
- Animal Assisted Therapy
- Health and Community Care.
While the study guide has been specifically written for students, many of the suggested activities may support the professional learning of community health workers and facilitate discussion in community groups supporting veterans and their families.
The Healing is classified M. Teachers are advised to preview The Healing before classroom viewing. The documentary explores adult themes and contains references to death, sexual assault and suicide ideation. Students should be briefed about the content and purpose of The Healing before viewing given the confronting nature of the participants' stories.