Projects in Minas Gerais offer therapy that transforms the lives of young people and develops autonomy
Two projects approved by the Renova Foundation’s Doce RFP are using horse riding and the relationship with horses as a method to increase the autonomy of children and adolescents with disabilities. The Association of Parents and Friends of the Disabled (APAE), from the municipality of Resplendor, in Minas Gerais, conducts the Equitation – An Equestrian Sport for Children with Disabilities, and the organization Anjos que Montam, from Aimorés, also in Minas Gerais, is responsible for Equestrian Sport – Enabling to Stimulate. The initiatives serve, in all, 50 children and teenagers from 4 to 16 years old in the two municipalities.
Both initiatives work with riding therapy, a method of therapeutic use of horses. The technique can bring benefits such as development of motor coordination, improved balance and, at the end of the process, greater autonomy for the person within their routine and with the family.
The activity became even more important to some people’s lives during the Covid-19 pandemic. During the period of social isolation, many children and adolescents showed physical, cognitive and psychological regressions. As it is a practice carried out in an open space and, often, with individual care, hippotherapy was maintained, unlike the therapies carried out in closed spaces, which had to be suspended. The space where the sessions take place allows children and adolescents to have contact with nature and has become an important opportunity for socializing during this period of seclusion.
Equitation: An Equestrian Sport For Children With Disabilities
Conducted by APAE of Resplendor, the Equitation project: An Equestrian Sport for Children with Disabilities offers 80 riding and equine therapy lessons per month, lasting up to 45 minutes, for up to 20 children aged 4 to 16 years. The initiative aims to promote integration between practitioners, horses and a multidisciplinary team.
The resources of the Doce RFP were destined to the care of the animals and the hiring of three professionals: a horseman, who helps to lead the horse, a Physical Education teacher trained in equine therapy and a lateral guide responsible for the rider’s safety. Only when the child reaches a degree of dexterity, security and autonomy will they be free to practice horseback riding. Upon enrolling, participants undergo an assessment with a physiotherapist and a psychologist, who maps the limitations of each child and assesses which activities are most suitable for each case.
The horse and the three professionals who work in the care of children in Resplendor were trained and prepared by the team of the organization Anjos que Montam, also selected by the Doce RFP with the Equestrian Sport – Enabling to Stimulate project.
The institution is a Civil Society Organization (CSO) that has been working with this type of therapy since 2019. Currently, the project serves 30 children and teenagers from 4 to 16 years old, in Aimorés. The objective is to train professionals for activities related to hippotherapy and horse riding, to assist up to 35 children and adolescents.
Due to the pandemic, the projects follow safety protocols. The activities are in person, but are carried out with masks and cleaning of uniforms and equipment.
Created by the Renova Foundation, the Doce RFP aims to promote and stimulate cultural, tourism, sport and recreation projects in the regions affected by the Fundao dam collapse and will allocate approximately R$12.5 million to 228 projects in Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo.