RSL LifeCare hosts horse event in Picton to support veterans

Local veterans were able to get up close and personal with horses at a special event yesterday.

As a part of Veterans' Health Week RSL LifeCare decided to bring back its Spur Equine Program.

RSL NSW teamed up with RSL LifeCare to relaunch the equine therapy-style program.

The program is run by veterans for veterans and promotes mental and physical wellbeing for wounded, injured and ill veterans.

An RSL LifeCare spokesman said the re-launch of the program had been a huge success.

"Even with a bit of rain, veteran participants got the chance to get up close and personal with the horses, learning how to connect and lead the horses," he said.

"The program is designed to promote mindfulness and wellbeing and supports current and ex-serving veterans who are wounded, injured or ill."

Yesterday's event featured a lunch for all attendees and a horse-handling workshop.

In future, participants in the Spur Equine Program will be required to take part in a two-day horse handlers' course to learn how to handle the horses.

This is the first step in a series of programs that will ultimately lead to a veteran's ride that treks through the Snowy Mountains and other iconic locations.

The Spur Ranch courses have been developed with wellbeing and recovery as core elements to help participants enjoy and challenge themselves.

Spur Ranch is located at the RSL LifeCare village near Picton

The equine program was just one of the many activities planned by RSL NSW to help its sub-branches and partner charities celebrate Veterans' Health Week, which had a theme this year of 'Social Connection'.

RSL NSW acting president and Ingleburn resident Ray James said this year's theme reinforced the importance of camaraderie to veteran's overall health and wellbeing.

"In a lot of ways, Veterans' Health Week shines a spotlight on the activity that is already taking place across the state and country year-round, but it is also a timely reminder of our need to regularly review and evolve our services as we work tirelessly to support veterans and their families," he said.

"Activities being highlighted this Veterans' Health Week demonstrate that we need to be wherever veterans and their families are, supporting them whenever they need it and delivering services and activities however, they can be best utilised on the ground.

"Whether it be directly provided by RSL NSW or facilitated through us by our vast network of partner charities or other ESOs, we are continuously evolving to ensure our total dedication to supporting veterans and their families remains as relevant as ever."

With ongoing concerns around Covid-19, in-person activities will be conducted in accordance with current restrictions in place, while a virtual event is also being held for those keen to engage in and support Veterans' Health Week online.