Summer holidays in the riding therapy centre
During the summer holidays, the Adventure Land Riding Therapy Centre is a hive of activity: children groom horses, hooves are scraped out and the excitement of the first lesson of the day is in the air. The fifteen children who busily clean, weave manes and lovingly look after their four-legged friends here are all part of this year’s adventure camp. They are allowed to spend six days on the farm near Aachen, where they can ride, romp, play, laugh, paint and be close to their favourite horses and ponies together – all this even around the clock, because the tent camp is located right next to an open stable. “In the morning you are woken up by the loud neighing”, says eight-year-old Celine* enthusiastically. About 30 therapy horses of different breeds live here – from the small shetty to the large coldblood. Coaches and therapists personally see to it that the four-legged friends lack for nothing. Thus they make sure that the gentle animals are always well!
After all four-legged friends have been cleaned and saddled, the colourful troupe and their horses are taken to the light-flooded riding hall. Here, outside the school holidays, riding is taught to about 250 pupils of different ages with and without restrictions. Outside the holidays, therapeutic riding is the main activity on the farm. Kerstin Keus is the head of the riding therapy centre. With her team of eight trainers and therapists they offer the whole range of therapeutic riding: From classical riding therapy, hippotherapy, riding and vaulting pedagogy to riding as a sport for the disabled. The special thing about this, apart from the beautiful location, is the atmosphere that prevails between trainers and students. One meets here “on horseback” in an almost familiar atmosphere and it quickly becomes clear that the togetherness on the farm is characterised by warm-heartedness and patience.
This year we made it possible for five students from an integrative school to take part in the popular adventure camp. As they come from families where money is scarce and participation in a holiday programme would therefore not have been possible, we are supporting them financially as part of our charitable project “CAVALLUNA hilft”.
Among them is also the seven-year-old Paul. Within seconds the cheerful boy climbs onto the back of the frugal Tinker gelding “Shannon” and enthusiastically does a few laps on the lunge. Then follow exercises from the riding therapy: Paul lies backwards on the top of the horse and stretches out his arms to the side – that takes a lot of courage and trust! His trainer Lena Schwartz always makes sure that her protégés feel completely comfortable. Only then can the level of difficulty be increased slightly, for example when the gelding starts to move slowly.
The enthusiasm is visibly written all over Paul’s face and so shortly afterwards we hear a joyful “Cool” resounding through the riding hall.
The CAVALLUNA team would like to thank the Riding Therapy Center for its great work and wishes all participants in the holiday program lots of fun in Adventure Land!
*Names have been changed by the editors