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Film Completed   /  Nick Barkla

The Healing

horses helping humans helping horses


Impact areas



  • DIRECTOR Nick Barkla

  • PRODUCER Nick Barkla, Producer; Geoffrey Smith, Creative Producer; Mel Baker, Associate Producer



The Healing is a documentary about transformation and getting a second chance in life. Set against the stunning backdrop of the southern highlands of NSW, it is an emotional journey of recovery that follows a group of traumatised war veterans whose lives are saved by learning to re-train ex-racehorses.

Support this project

68.01% funded
  • $125,000.00

  • $85,010.00

  • September 2021

  • 56

Minimum amount is $ Maximum amount is $





Anonymous $50.00
Lauren O’Regan $20.00
Kate Fourneaux $50.00
Anonymous $30.00
Jessica Jasch $20.00
Lyn Willey $20.00
Cherry Stowman $20.00
Phoebe Hanna $20.00
Pia Sweeting $20.00
Anonymous $50.00
Anonymous $25.00
Anonymous $100.00
Anonymous $100.00
Anonymous $350.00
Clare Hull $100.00
Sanela Hasanovic $250.00
Peter and Margaret Sheppard $25,000.00
Coogee RSL $500.00
Wendy Nixon $100.00
Anonymous $20.00
Anonymous $20.00
Anonymous $10.00
Anonymous $20.00
Anonymous $20.00
Jane Koitka $50.00
Lynn Jenkin $100.00
Jessica Broome $5.00
Kathy Painter $20.00
Anonymous $20.00
Marisa Mckinnon $20.00
Anna Risbey $100.00
Helen Batson $100.00
Jacqui Collins $50.00
Linda Jackson $50.00
Ken Jones Moama RSL Sub-Branch $500.00
Narooma RSL Sub-Branch $500.00
Nowra RSL Sub-Branch $250.00
Roman Makohon $100.00
Peter Sheppard $25,000.00
Narromine RSL Sub-Branch $200.00
RSL Port Macquarie $500.00
Donna Franolic $100.00
Anonymous $25,000.00
Amiel Courtin-Wilson $300.00
Rob Chapman $50.00
Helen Arteaga $100.00
Ian Lucas $200.00
Barbara Chevalier $200.00
Janet Jenkin $1,000.00
Elizabeth Ross $100.00
Karen Jordan $10.00
Melissa Baker $750.00
Kirsty Le Jeune $50.00
Ray Mooney $100.00

Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

Increasing numbers of Australian military, as well as police, firemen and paramedics (first responders) are succumbing to depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide. In 2016, double the number of military personnel and veterans committed suicide than were killed in the entire 16 years of the war in Afghanistan.

Similarly, every year, thousands of racehorses are “retired” from the racing industry and face very uncertain futures. Many struggle to find second careers, and often end up as damaged and un-socialized members of their own herds.

The mission of the Thoroughbred and Veteran Welfare Alliance is to transform the lives of these vulnerable horses and people, and The Healing will bring their cutting edge ideas and practices to a much wider audience, to help obtain the vital support, exposure and funding needed to carry on their life-saving programs.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

To increase empathy and awareness about the mental health issues facing military veterans and first responders, as well as offering an alternative therapy program to help them heal. To also use the film as a visual aide to lobby Government to have equine welfare programs added to Department of Veterans' Affairs and National Disability Insurance Scheme.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

Through creating a comprehensive Impact Campaign to support the film, our objectives include the following:
1. PTSD Sufferers and their Families
- To connect with those suffering with PTSD and their families by creating hope and offering alternative, positive pathways to healing.
2. Australian Defence Force, and First Responder Organisations & Institutions
- To bring greater awareness of the work of the Alliance and similar organisations to Military and First Responder Organisations.
3. General Public
- To create awareness of the challenges faced by those serving in the military and as First Responders once they exit service.
- To reduce the stigma associated with mental health problems and homelessness by igniting conversations about the issues and challenges.
- To challenge and change the way we talk about people with mental health issues and those who are homeless.
4. Policy Change
- To increase funding for organisations such as the Alliance, which provide equine therapies


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

The Healing will achieve its outcomes by specifically targeted national and international screenings of the film - to raise public and media interest in the story. Specifically targeted screenings for State and National MP's will be held to bolster support for the Thoroughbred and Veteran Welfare Alliance, as well as the introduction of equine therapy to DVA and NDIS.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

We have partnered with various organisations in the Veteran and First Responder community to ensure the development of our film is in line with, and will meet the needs of the members. We have sought feedback at every stage of development and production, and will continue to do so through to the release of the film.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

We hope viewers spread the word about the benefits of the work of the Thoroughbred and Veteran Welfare Alliance. We also hope it opens their eyes to the importance of retraining and rehoming thoroughbreds to give them a second chance in life and to the treatment of veterans following discharge and how working with ex-racehorses is healing in their trauma.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

Indicators for success - we will have succeeded in our goals when we have secured ongoing funding for the Thoroughbred and Veteran Welfare Alliance and Equine Welfare and Equine Therapy programs have been added to DVA and NDIS.