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Animal help: echinotherapy

When neither traditional medicine nor psychological assistance is able to combat any disability or disorder, then echinotherapy appears.

Stories of people

The Department of Social Development of  Las Heras  began with a completely innovative program at the end of last year. It consists of offering the  treatment of echinotherapy to those who need it and do not have sufficient resources to pay for it in the private sector.   And satisfaction is immense. Seeing the face or body expression of children and teenagers who get off, cheerful, of horses, is an indelible experience.

Antonella gets off the horse with a contagious joy.  The barbijo prevents you from seeing the smile that can be seen in your eyes. Carolina expresses with gestures what she can not with her voice, and they are also of joy.   Francisco, at only 7 years old, clings to the horse's leash and begins the journey with his mother, while Pedro guides the animal in slow steps.

Thus, each of the stories of children and adolescents who are part of the Equinotherapy program of the Municipality of Las Heras are being replicated,  with the aim of contributing to the rehabilitation, normalization, integration and socialization of those who suffer a disability. physical, psychic, sensory, psychological or   social problems  or behavioral disorders.

echinotherapy 2

 The property 

 About 8 kilometers from the departmental square Marcos Burgos,  and passing by Route 13, you reach the post Los Amigos. It is a wonderful place, in the heart of the foothills and where this therapeutic and pleasant activity is performed, both for children with disabilities and their families, who enjoy mattes and in the shade while their children do the routine.

José María Villavicencio, director of Social Development, said that “being able to do this action is very rewarding both personally and at work, since we can be accompanying families and children in this problem.”

“We not only offer the echinotherapy class, but we  also give them the transfer to this place and a team of work with specialized people. For now it is aimed at children, but in the future the idea is to incorporate older adults ,” the official added.

One of the mothers who were accompanying her children was Eugenia Pizzi, who told that her son was born with the pathology of damage to the brain, resulting in a maturative delay.  And beyond doing other therapies, such as kinesiology or visual and occupational therapy, it has been echinotherapy for three years and has made important advances.   Now they are in the process of starting to walk and are very happy because the horse helps a lot.

The instructor is  Pedro Manuel Calero, who has been living there for 20 years, and life put equinotherapy ahead, something he was learning over time and on the go.   He has been an instructor for 18 years, although he is also friends with each of the boys and, of course, the horses.

For him, it is a pleasure and a wonderful joy to be with the boys.  They give him much more than he returns to them, which is simply a place for them to move, in their opinion.  

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In echinotherapy, the  horse  becomes a moving machine, which generates a series of imbalances and movements when it is on it. It moves you from side to side, climbs you, lowers you, rotates your hip... and anyone, if he wants to give orders to the body to counteract all those imbalances, can't.  Then the brain looks for balance alone and puts all the muscles into work.   The horse has the same biomechanics of movements as humans and is recording motor skills. Every step of the horse is a rhythmic impulse that gives.

In order to develop this program, the health protocols by  Covid-19 were taken into account. And one of them was to work with “sanitary bubbles”, with groups of nine per shift. The boys attend two days a week (Monday and Wednesday) and in two shifts: morning and afternoon. Each routine demands between 40 and 45 minutes and the teachers who are in charge are Marcos Olivera, Yésica Alcaino and Jorge Aranguez.

Publication Date: 11/02/2021

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