Horses Helping Children

Nonprofit offers equine therapy to those with disabilities

It’s estimated that of 14% of Mexico's population suffer some form of disability. That’s roughly 16.5 million people.

Helping some of those people is Equinoterapias Hossana. It’s a little known non-profit organization in Cabo that offers therapeutic, educational and social development rehabilitation for children with disabilities. It was founded in 2012 with the intention of creating an equine therapy program as an alternative method of rehabilitation therapy, using horse-riding techniques.

Since its beginning, Equinoterapias has cared for more than 500 children from the Los Cabos and nearby towns like Miraflores and Santiago. Equinoterapias offers 25 horse riding therapies a day (more than 750 per month) at their facilities, which are located on the edge of town on Constituyentes, across from Office Depot.

In the past five years, Equinoterapias has seen great results in the children and young people it helps. Equinoterapias works with a wide range of disabilities, including hearing impairments, visual and language impairments, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, emotional challenges, autism, and behavioral problems.

horseshelping_0.JPGEquinoterapias’ goals are to improve the children’s muscular tone and coordination, and to help with their psychological attention, understanding, self esteem and memory abilities.

“It's also nice to cheer them up and watch them progress,” says Iris Elguera, the Equinoterapias psychologist.

Unfortunately, many of the children who go to equine therapy do not have the resources and money to cover their sessions and treatment. Equinoterapias has reached out to the community to help cover the monthly cost of roughly $100 USD per child, asking business leaders and Los Cabos residents to help sponsor a child.

Belinda, for example, is 10-years old and suffers from cerebral palsy. She lives with her parents and 6-year old little brother. Their modest family home in the impoverished neighborhood of Leonardo Gastelum requires the family to bring their daughter to her therapy sessions by taxi. Belinda has been attending equine therapy twice a week for three months. During this time, she’s had remarkable advances in the strengthening of her lower body, back, neck and limbs, which have allowed her to enjoy a new sense happiness, self-esteem and an improved posture.

Christian, another equine therapy patient, is a 10-year old boy with spastic cerebral palsy who lives with parents and three younger brothers in the equally low income neighborhood of Las Palmas. Both of these children have greatly benefited from the few sponsors that have stepped in and covered their therapy expenses. But more help is needed.

“Most of the families struggle with transportation costs of bringing their children to our facilities and we are trying to offset those costs by increasing the number of sponsors who can support and assist them with much-needed funds,” Iris says. “We hope to open doors to more children in need, rather than have families feel as if that door of rehabilitation and therapy is closed to them for lack of money.''

A glaring example, as Iris pointed out, was the case of Matthew, a four-year-old suffering from hydrocephalus (water on the brain) and psycho-motor disabilities, whose withdrawal from the program was based purely on the parent's economic problems. In the time he attended therapy, Matthew saw remarkable progress in relation to improving his language and social skills.

For more information on how to sponsor a child, contact Iris calling (624) 175-6366 or email equinotherapyhossanaac@gmail.com. Or find them on Facebook at facebook.com/EquinoterapiasHossana.