Horses Helping People: Equine Therapy New to Cabo

 Horses Helping People: Equine Therapy New to Cabo

BY FERNANDO RODRIGUEZ

Located at the side of Highway 19 across that four-lane road from Cabo and next to the bullring, is the little horse-riding place called Equinoterapias Hossana. The non-profit organization offers therapeutic and educational rehabilitation for children with disabilities. 

Founded in 2012, the program uses equine techniques to help children with motor skill disabilities like autism and wheelchair-relegated disabilities. Patients sit on the horses in different positions, and this is what stimulates their bodies as they ride in sync with the horses. 

“The reason is that the horse’s walking pattern is very similar to that of a human, so when we put the child on top of the horse, a stimulation is generated through the spinal column that goes to the brain and they begin to affect the nerve branches and this in turn, begins to release certain chemicals at the brain level, which generates stimulation in the body,” said Evelyn Trejo, the founding President of Hossana Equinotherapy.

“As a non-profit association, we have the support of the Los Cabos Children’s Foundation. We have some programs where support for equine therapy for low-income children is free and that is also offered at a very low cost for other families depending on the socioeconomic study of their situation. The team of professionals we have here are therapists certified by the Mexican Association of Therapeutic Horse Riding and we have a psychologist, a physiotherapist, and a wonderful group of teachers,” added Trejo. 

Equinoterapias has cared for more than 500 children from the Municipality of Los Cabos and nearby little towns and cities. They offer 25 daily equine therapies and more than 400 per month. 

Equinoterapias Hossana has achieved important results in children and young people with disabilities such as hearing impairments, visual and language impairments, Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, emotional challenges, autism, and behavioral problems. It has been estimated that 14% of Mexico’s population suffers some form of disability. 

“Equinotherapy Hossana’s goals have always been to improve the children’s muscular tone and coordination and to help with their psychological attention, understanding, self-esteem and memory abilities,” said psychologist Iris Elguera, six years ago. 

“We also have activities such as the concept of the farm, and on the farm, we work on everything that is stimulating the environment, and the care of the animals. We also work on competitive horse riding, in which we give horseback riding classes that allow us to teach the child the sport as it is,” said Trejo. 

“Most of the families struggle with transportation costs in 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. 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,” said Trejo. 

Unfortunately, many of the children who go to equine therapy do not have sufficient resources and money to cover their sessions and treatment. What Equinoterapias Hossana has done to overcome this major hurdle has been their community outreach to help cover the monthly cost of $2,000-$3,000 pesos per child by asking business leaders and Los Cabos residents to help sponsor a child of their choice.

Belinda, for example, was a 10-year-old with Cerebral Palsy, living with her parents and 6-year-old little brother. Their modest family home in the impoverished neighborhood of Leonardo Gastelum forces the family to bring their daughter via taxi for her therapy sessions. Belinda had been attending for 3 months, twice a week. She made remarkable advances in strengthening her lower body, back, neck and limbs which allowed her to enjoy a new sense of happiness, self-esteem and an improved posture. 

“We have worked very hard to establish the transparency needed so we can build upon our sponsorship needs,” noted Trejo. “We know that expanding the number of sponsors will greatly help our program and the children who desperately need financial assistance.”

Another glaring example, as Trejo pointed out, was the case of Matthew Gil, who was a young 4-year-old child suffering from hydrocephalus and psycho-motor disabilities from the downtown neighborhood “Colonia” Juarez. His withdrawal from the program was based purely on the parents’ economic problems. In the time he attended therapy, Matthew experienced improvement in his language and social skills.

Another child who was forced to drop out of the program for the same money issue was 8-year-old Raúl Urías who suffers from autism. Equinotherapy Hossana calls their publicly funded program ”El Padrino” which is Spanish for Godfather but in layman’s terms simply means a program sponsor or donor. Pepe Cantu, owner of J & J Habano, Cabo’s classic cigar shop, adopted Alyna Sofia and helped ease the family’s transportation cost of bringing her to San Lucas from San Jose del Cabo. 

“I have always been the type of person who likes to help, especially when they’re children,” said Cantu. “I love the idea of helping and what really motivated me was when I first saw Alyna in the case files I was given to choose from. Her smile captivated my heart. It has been a pleasure meeting her parents and we have to remember that when we pass away, we take nothing with us, but we can touch lives and leave something special behind, while we are here.”

For more information on how to help sponsor a child, please contact Evelyn Trejo by calling (624) 180-7162 or email equinotherapyhossanaac@gmail.com. On Facebook they are Echinoterapias Hossana A. C.