The first month of the new year passes quickly. The Christmas and New Year holidays are behind us. And it is quite logical that it is time to consider what we have done in the past year and what is coming up. It is difficult to go over the numerous activities, initiatives and projects, but here are the most significant.
The most important thing for us was the successful 2022 Program "Free therapeutic riding for children with disabilities". All participants progressed in riding, and some of them even became independent. Through lots of games and having fun, the children improved their posture and sitting, became more communicative and believed in their abilities. The project "Young volunteers and horses make a change for children with disabilities" gave young people from Germany, France, Luxembourg and Portugal the opportunity to help with the therapy sessions. They taught the children to count in different languages, how to play volleyball, they enjoyed together their advancement.
In order to improve our practices in therapeutic riding, we created the project "Youth in Equine-Assisted Therapy", supported by the Erasmus+ program of the European Union. All the activities we planned for 2022 were successfully completed. We organized a learning exchange for over 20 participants from Bulgaria, France and Belgium. Through it therapists, youth workers, young people with disabilities and their companions exchanged experiences, ideas and opinions.
We and the partner organizations in the project Association For You /Bulgaria/, Brussels Outdoor School /Belgium/, Creativi 108 /Italy/ have conducted a detailed study on the participation of youth in horse therapy.
The data was collected and processed to complement the Guidelines for Youth in Equine Therapy that we prepared. The guidelines are an important tool aimed at young people with disabilities and their families, youth workers and young professionals in the field. At the end of January 2023 the Guidelines will be published and free to download for anyone interested in learning about equine-assisted therapy.
In the past year, we started a partnership with other European organizations in the project "Building skills through therapy animals", supported by the Erasmus+ program of the European Union . We organized and conducted 5 trainings with students from the Community for Democratic Education, who are partners in the project. The students helped prepare and train horses for therapeutic riding, met one of the children with special needs, prepared and assisted in therapy sessions. Training sessions by our partners were held in Latvia on dolphin therapy and in Belgium on dog therapy. In a two-day event, we also welcomed participants from all partner countries to get to know the therapy horses and learn more about our practices. The experiences of everyone in the project were documented to become part of a documentary. The information gathered will form part of the Guidelines and Impact Report on Therapeutic Animals, which will be available in 2023.
For another year, volunteers and donors from the country and abroad did everything to support the activities of our organization. Without their support and trust, we would not have been able to accomplish it all.
In 2023, we expect to continue what we have started and begin new ventures. We look forward to welcoming back children with special needs and helping them smile even more. Together with them, we will welcome the birth of two horses, which will one day be their faithful companions.