Monday, February 2, 2009

This is a text writen from the EVS volunteer Verena who is volunteering in the project: Therapeutical Horseback-riding

I'm working in the riding-school of Kalamata which is situated a bit outside of the town (around 4 km from the center).
There live about 30 horses, some of them are privat and some are of the riding-school. For the therapeutical riding we have one pony, his name is Emo. The children we work with are pupils from KEKYKAmeA, a center for childern with special needs. Most of them are autistic, they cannot communicate well (some cannot speak at all), it is difficult for them to concentrate, sometimes they seemed to be absent, like in their own little world. One girl is mentally retarded and another girl stutters. With the help of the horse (and his movement) we try to improve the skills (speech, body-controll /-movement, concentration...) of the children. I assist to Amalia, she is the „trainer“ (logotherapist), in quite all activities: we do side-leading (everyone of us leads from one side with the rein in one hand and the other hand fixes the child's leg), make the child to change position (normal sitting, backwards, sidewards, kneeing, sometimes standing...), playing with balls and rings, walking over poles or slalom around scones. Sometimes we even trot some rounds, what quite all the children really enjoy and laugh all the time ;-) We also try to teach the children to speak some easy words like „pame“ to make the horse walk, or „opa“ to stop it. After the session we lead the horse together with the child a few rounds and put off the roller and the reins. But this depends on the ability of the child, sometimes we can also brush the horse, wash the hoofs etc. together with the child.
So my work consits of preparing the horse before and after the lesson, assiting Amalia and leading the horse during the session (one lessons is about half an hour, we have about 3-4 childeren per day) and take care of all our tools. Sometimes, if we don't have lessons, we lunge or ride Emo, too.
I really like my work! It's fun to work with the children (the best thing is to see how happy they are when they are sitting on the horse :-) ) and horses. And also Amalia is a very nice and friendly person!