VRC celebrates connection between children and horses via new community partnership with CARM

2 March 2023 Written by VRC

The Victoria Racing Club is delighted to announce its partnership with new not-for-profit organisation Child And Racehorse Movement (CARM) for Australian Guineas Day on Saturday 4 March.

CARM is a charity that nurtures an innovative wellbeing program for children and racehorses. This program aims to support horses as they transition from the racecourse into the community while fostering the wellbeing of children, facilitating a purposeful journey that embodies strong and sentimental connections for both parties.

CARM was created as a collaboration between the KIDS Foundation and Rehab4Rehab and uses Equine Assisted Therapy to help support young people with mental health concerns, including anxiety, depression, autism, low self-confidence, trauma, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The ability of horses to mirror human emotions and maintain a calm state during human interactions has been the foundation of this successful practice.

CARM will be present at Flemington on Australian Guineas Day on Saturday 4 March with a special activation called The CARM Place within the Flemington Fareground, which will provide a space for children to come together and connect with Shetland ponies throughout the day.

CARM Ambassador and Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Michelle Payne OAM will participate in an interview on the Flemington Fareground at 3:45pm and available for a meet and greet session at CARM Place from 4:00pm – 4:30pm.

In addition, CARM volunteers will be out in force selling CARM-branded merchandise to raise vital funds.

VRC Chief Executive Officer Steve Rosich said the club was pleased to be supporting the innovative organisation and its important work in the community.

“Australian Guineas Day is the first day of the Flemington Racing Spectacular and it is great to be able to kick things off with this new partnership that celebrates the wonderful things that can be achieved by bringing children and horses together.”

“Equine Assisted Therapy is a relatively new but very powerful tool to help support young members of our community and retired racehorses are particularly suited to this role,” Mr Rosich said.

CARM Directors Alisha Griffiths and Dr Susie O’Neill OAM extended their gratitude to the VRC for helping to build awareness of the therapeutic relationship shared between humans and horses.

“We’re excited to build this program and enhance recognition for the extraordinary power of animals and children in nurturing each other,” they said.

“By giving retired racehorses an opportunity to reconnect with people, they are awarded with a greater sense of purpose and belonging. Likewise, this intimate relationship is rewarding for children, not only aiding wellbeing and health, but enhancing their confidence, ability to care and social skills,” said Ms Griffiths.

“We hope the partnership with the VRC will bring awareness and generate much-needed funds that allow us to continue supporting youths in need.”

For more information on the VRC’s community initiatives please visit

CARM (Child and Racehorse Movement) was founded in 2022, forging a partnership between two registered charities, the KIDS Foundation and Rehab4Rehab to deliver equine-focused mental health and wellbeing programs for children, engaging with retired racehorses. The campaign benefits retired racehorse transition from the racetrack into the community, while providing them with a greater purpose.

The program also encourages family involvement, working alongside schools and support workers to ensure that participants are fully understood and accommodated throughout the program.

CARM’s mission is to effect positive generational change within the lives of children and racehorses.