Program Free Therapeutic Riding for Children with Disabilities

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The Program provides children with disabilities the chance to improve their health. It offers the children’s caretakers space for retreat. And it is free for the families.

Did you know that horseback riding can help healing? It improves the mental and physical health of a person with disabilities, especially children. That is done through a series of well-structured exercises that the rider performs on a specially trained horse. Understanding that, we created the Program for Free Therapeutic Riding for Children with Disabilities in 2018. 

Through the Program we offer individual weekly therapeutic riding sessions to children with disabilities from the Sofia Region. Participation in the Program requires dedication and attending the therapeutic riding sessions regularly. It is free for the children with disabilities and their families. 

Every donation matters to ensure the Program continues. 

About the Program

Therapeutic riding is an equine-assisted activity aimed to contribute to the physical, mental, and emotional improvement of a person with disabilities. Our Program is designed to help children with different disabilities such as Down Syndrome, Epilepsy, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Hyperactivity and others. The Program follows the standards of the International Professional Association for Therapeutic Horsemanship. The parents/caretakers benefit from the Program by having the opportunity to spend time in the nature. It offers them space to relax from the everyday obligations and have time for themselves. More about therapeutic riding you can find here. 

Every visit to the farm contains several activities for the child and the parent/s. Upon arrival the children and the parent/s spend some time adjusting to the new environment and preparing for the adventure. Then the child is involved as much as possible in preparing the horse for riding. Next to the riding arena the child mounts and dismounts from a special equipment if necessary. For safety reason, from the moment the child mounts the horse he or she is supported with at least one instructor. Volunteers lead the horse, walk by the horse, assist and play games with the children. The session involves not only physical exercises but also developing important social and emotional skills. It is full of exercises, games, and trails. While the child is having the session the parent/s get to enjoy themselves. They can spend time around the horses. They can choose one of the trails in the natural park where the farm is located. Finally, the child and the parent/s can spend some time cooling off from the experience and preparing to go back to their everyday life. 

The visit to the farm is not only another appointment children with disabilities have to go to. It is a healing adventure they embark upon.

How we manage to have the Program free for the disabled children?

One visit of a child with disabilities and his or her caretaker requires the time of our instructor, staff members, and up to three volunteers. Our organization has one experienced instructor who dedicates her time free of charge. We ensure volunteers are on site and well-prepared with the project ‘’Young Volunteers and Horses Make a Change for Children with Disabilities’. The volunteering project is supported by the European Solidarity Corps Program.   

However, there are still many other expenses. Each child needs a special equipment to be safe during the sessions. Special equipment is also needed for the horse to accommodate the child. The facilities of the farm need to be well-maintained and safe. The therapy-horses are trained daily to execute the necessary exercises. Caring for them is a costly and hard work for the personnel. 

To cover the expenses, we rely on our supporters. Among our supporters were private donors from Bulgaria, Germany, France, United States, United Arab Emirates and many other countries all over the world. The US Embassy in Bulgaria also supported part of the Program in 2018. Whenever we had to, the team of the organization contributed as much as necessary. 

Every donation matters to ensure the Program continues. 
 

How to apply?

The application process for the Program includes three phases – submitting the application forms; interview on the phone with a parent; interview at the farm. Once in the Program we design an individual plan for every child. 

The Program’s capacity is full for the moment. Follow our page for opportunities.