“Horse Boy”

Granddaughter Ines at work at the “Centro Equestre da Leziria Grande” riding centre.

The Equipe Luis Valença enchants at the shows of the Apassionata World GmbH with lessons of the high school. To show piaffe, levade and passage in perfection, horse and rider have to trust each other without exception. But even outside the show arena, the dressage artists appreciate the special bond between man and horse – in riding therapy.

At the “Centro Equestre da Leziria Grande” riding centre founded by Luis Valença, he and his family are committed to a method called “Horse Boy” which helps autistic children. Daughter Sofia and granddaughter Ines are always at Luis’ side during the therapy sessions.

“Everything is allowed in the saddle!”

Luis and his daughter Sofia are completely convinced of “Horse Boy”: “On horseback, the children learn to communicate with the outside world. Singing, playing, learning, laughing – everything is allowed in the saddle, and the classical training of our Lusitanos supports the enthusiasm of the little ones on horseback! The Spanish Step, for example, helps playfully in dealing with numbers, because the child clearly feels the accentuated steps of the horse, which it counts. Piaffe and Passage also give the little ones in the saddle great joy and give them self-confidence. Even the smallest commands they are allowed to give encourage them to interact with their environment.

Two men – one common goal

Luis Valença learned about “Horse Boy” through its founder, Rupert Isaacson. The desperate father from Texas did not know how to get his autistic son Rowan out of his isolation. The miracle only worked when father and son sat down on the horse together and Rowan suddenly began to communicate… Rupert Isaacson was immediately fascinated by the human-centered Lusitanos. At the same time, Luis Valença was passionate about “Horse Boy” and a wonderful collaboration began!

Sofia Valença still travels to the USA twice a year to support Rupert in training the horses and to bring news about “Horse Boy” to her Portuguese home country, so that children there can continue to learn about a new world through the help of the horses.