Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19): Find out more about RSL LifeCare services. Read more
What is RSL Life Care? Find out
equine_picton | RSL LifeCare - provide care and service to war veterans, retirement villages and accommodation, aged care services and assisted living
August 23, 2019

Looking into the eyes of another

RSL LifeCare Picton equine instructor Max Streeter tells the story of a serviceman whose demeanour changed once he had groomed and saddled his horse.  

He was speaking as the co-ordinator of a program which assisted returned soldiers suffering post-traumatic stress, and the frail, by providing therapeutic time with horses. 

 He arrives quite rattled,” Mr Streeter said of the gentleman. “Nothing is right. Then he grabs his saddle and he heads down to groom his horse. He comes back a different person – telling jokes and full of conversation.” 

The instructor said there were great benefits in bringing returned service people, “first responders” and the elderly, into contact with horses.  

Eight horses were presently homed at Queen Victoria Park, in Picton, which is owned by RSL LifeCare. The John Goodlet Manor Residential Aged Care Home is on the same grounds. 

“A miniature horse, a pony named Precious, spends time with residents of the village,” he said. 

Those normally disengaged become engaged. You can see a spark in them. Their spirits lift. Their minds are ticking over.” 

Mr Streeter said the other part of the program instructed veterans on retraining and riding thoroughbreds, so they could become horses for pleasure rather than horses for racing.   

“It’s an eight-month course which culminates with a three-day ride on Mount Kosciuszko, he said. 

During treks, the riding party visited cabins built in the 1800s, and caves used by stockmeof the high country. 

Mr Streeter knew first-hand the rewards of this therapy. This veteran, who dedicated decades of his life to the military, was medically discharged in 2003 as a result of injuries and illness from service, including PTSD. 

The former UN Peacekeeper, Australian Federal Police officer and armoured core soldier, was part of a similar program when it was in its infancy five years ago.  

“It was so beneficial I asked myself what I could do to put something back into this,” he said. 

“We also train volunteers from Homes for Heroes in horse handling.  

“There is a certain energy working with horses – people’s problems seem to go away. 

“In Australia, we are still catching up (to the USwhen it comes to using horses for therapy.” 

Mr Streeter praised the commitment of RSL LifeCarestating the program would not exist without its support.  

 

Story by Rod Bennett

Blog Posts

Help for Vets in Need

Veterans’ Services

Find out more

Latest News

array(2) { [0]=> int(175) [1]=> int(41) }

Rod Kingham

Driver, Australian Army "My Dad had been in the Somme and he used to go to Anzac Day so we were an army family."  ...

Read more

Thelma ‘Shirley’ Grinyer

Nurse, Australian Army Medical Women’s Service “Most of our patients were servicemen, and they were the best patients you could find"   Shirley was an...

Read more

Dorothy ‘Topsy’ Curtis

Private, Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS) “You have to protect your country and your families. If it happened again, I would have to join up...

Read more

Richard (Dick) Udy

Dick Udy couldn’t wait to enlist when war was declared in 1939. His sense of adventure was eventually fulfilled as a wireless operator onboard the...

Read more

Victory in the Pacific – 75 years since the end of World War II

RSL LifeCare has been capturing the memories of our war veterans for many years as a way of honouring our residents’ individual service. This VP...

Read more

Dot Curtis, featured on 7 News in commemoration of Victory in the Pacific

#OneInAMillion our very own resident, Dot Curtis, resident of Connie Fall in Narrabeen, featured on 7 News in commemoration of Victory in the Pacific on...

Read more

ANZAC Day – We Did Remember Them

ANZAC Day is one of the most important days of the year in the RSL LifeCare calendar. Despite restrictions and social distancing requirements, due to...

Read more

Joshua Manning and Homes for Heroes

Media Release Joshua Manning was a Clearance Diver in the Royal Australian Navy for 13 years. His passing on 7 October 2019 deeply saddened RSL...

Read more

Old Peoples Home for Four Year Olds continues to create buzz….

Read page 78 in Fusion Magazine......  

Read more

Great celebration ignites memories

A sense of inclusiveness, normalcy and joy was evident at RSL LifeCare’s Patrick Bugden VC Gardens recently with a magnificent Christmas celebration. The special event...

Read more

A Community Celebrates

RSL LifeCare’s Albert Moore Gardens in Merimbula is dedicated to being part of the community it serves. We had a week of celebrations" - Manager...

Read more

Inter-Generational Exchange Portraiture Exhibition

Residents from Patrick Budgen VC Gardens Aged Care in collaboration with Year 9 & 10 Students from Byron Bay High School hold an Art Exhibition...

Read more

Download a brochure

We'll never share your email address and you can opt out at any time, we promise

Career Application Single

  • Accepted file types: docx, doc, pdf.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.