The holidays became a bit brighter for some Belizean kids with disabilities and their families when The Lodge at Chaa Creek teamed up with a local advocacy organisation, REALIZE, to provide innovative horseback therapy at the popular Belizean eco-resort, according to marketing administrator Roberto Harrison.
Hippotherapy, as the treatment is known, from the Greek, “hippos” to describe “treatment with a horse” uses the rhythmic movement of the animal as positive sensory input.
Under the care of a specially trained therapist, Hippotherapy is used to treat physical, occupational, or speech and language and other conditions. During the initial trial session conducted December 10, 2017, at Chaa Creek, four children ages 4 – 8, their families and the therapist were introduced to horses specially selected by head wrangler Teddy Vasquez.
Mr Vasquez, his staff, Mr Harrison and the therapist then led the children around the corral and grounds of Chaa Creek.
By all accounts, the therapy was a resounding success.
“It was a great experience, and the families were beyond happy that they could participate with their children in a safe and supportive environment. It was the first time these kids went horseback riding, so that was a treat, too,” Mr Harrison said.
“For us, it was so touching to see the children respond to the horses, and Teddy did a great job in not only selecting the right mounts, but putting the kids and parents at ease. Even the horses seemed to know they were doing something special and enjoyed themselves,” he explained.
Realize Belize director of services Sam Hill said, “We cannot thank Chaa Creek enough for their support in providing such an incredible experience to the group of children with disability and their families,” and said he looks forward to seeing more children benefit from the Western Belize jungle lodge’s equestrian centre.