Equine therapy helping children with cerebral palsy from low-income families in Caracas

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Clarath Mendoza’s six-year-old son Drake whispers on his mother’s lap. She asks him to raise his head and the boy straightens up.

Fly suffers from cerebral palsyAnd until recently, she struggled to do something as simple as look at her mother.

Mendoza credits Drake’s improvements to equine therapy, which Guided horse riding uses To affect posture, coordination and movement of muscles that are affected by cerebral palsy.

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“It has been slow, but the progress is quite noticeable,” Mendoza said.

Drake is one of 103 patients who have received treatment at the Integral Therapy Center Foundation of Venezuela (CTIV) in Caracas, a nonprofit that provides horse-assisted therapy to children and adolescents with disabilities.

A boy with cerebral palsy attends equine therapy on November 19, 2003 in Coconut Creek, Florida. A non-profit program providing equine therapy to children with cerebral palsy from low-income families in Venezuela.
(Tom Erwin/Getty Images)

CTIV does not close its doors to low-income families, with some families struggling financially subsidized between 50-100% of the cost.

Aid has been a lifeline for 26-year-old Mendoza, who is unemployed in a country world’s highest inflation rate,

“We wanted to provide support and service and rehabilitation, especially to children with limited resources,” said Patricia de Chumasero, founder and director of CTIV.

Chumasero’s motivation for opening CTIV in 2008 was personal: Her youngest child, now 18, was born with cerebral palsy and has personally benefited from equine therapy.

Located on a 13,000-square-metre property on a hill to the east of the Venezuelan capital, CTIV employs a team of 16 people, including social workers, psychologists, speech and occupational therapists, and physiotherapists, in two 45-minute sessions. help children. Or three times a week.

Riding lessons, an art gallery, and on-site rental facilities help families like Drake pay for subsidies.

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For Mendoza, the opportunity for free therapy for Drake has been a relief at a time when she sometimes struggles to keep food on the table.

“I’m very grateful (…) a lot of progress has been made,” she said.

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