Tell us a little about Rehab4Rehab
Rehab4Rehab is a new charity dedicated to helping both struggling children and retired racehorses to find their feet and live their best lives. We help vulnerable young children and teens to overcome mental health struggles through ‘equine assisted therapy’ with retired racehorses.
In a clinical environment, even the best health professionals can find it a challenge to build a rapport with a struggling child. But it is a very different story working with a child when they are in a paddock grooming a horse – it means they can benefit from clinical psychology without ever setting foot in a sterile white room.
We have partnered with Berry Street to help children in the foster care system suffering with mental health issues. We have also started taking on other children whose parents cannot afford the therapy or who do not yet have funding to support their treatment.
As for our horses – they are treated to a five star, six month retraining program during which time they are integrated into our therapy program. When each horse is successfully retrained, they’re responsibly matched to their “forever home”.
How did you come up with such an innovative idea?
Rehab4Rehab started as a pilot program to understand if retired racehorses could be suitable for equine assisted therapy. As part of the pilot, we assessed whether the therapy could be more effective than standard therapy in helping children and we are now thoroughly convinced of this!
We are looking to partner with a university to undertake further research, with a view to expanding our services and making this unique offering more readily available to children who need it.
For the time being, we are working on covering our round yard with a roof and lights to allow us to run therapy sessions - no matter the weather or the time of day. As most of the children can only attend after school, the shorter days through winter mean we can often only see one child, or none if it is pouring rain.
Becoming more season-friendly will also help our horses, who often train in the round yard.
“Without Arnold Bloch Leibler, Christine and Jessica we wouldn’t have charitable status and wouldn’t be helping the many underprivileged children and teens that we are today.”
How can people get involved with Rehab4Rehab?
We welcome volunteers at our facility at Main Ridge on the Mornington Peninsula, whether it be to help on tidy up days before big events, with things like filling in potholes on the driveway, painting fences, garden maintenance and the like. We could also use help to bring in the horses and brush them after a spell in the paddock and, of course, always welcome workplace giving and donations, which can be directed towards sponsoring horses, children or making one of our larger projects a reality.
Rehab4Rehab is a pro bono client of the firm. Arnold Bloch Leibler partner Christine Fleer and lawyer Jessica Wills advised Rehab4Rehab on its registration as a charity and its health promotion activities.