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Hippotherapy: the horse as Adelina, the children learn to manage emotions
THE smallest is Adelina, a pony, dark as a best friend has a kid named Teo. Then there are Jamaica and Fly Lady, two cavalline brown, and the trio of the Nile, Winter and Brat, haflinger horses from the mantle and golden mane of white, almost like the hair of Jupiter, a sella Italian elegant with a past in the Police State. This is the scuderia of the Rehabilitation Centre Equestre Vittorio di Capua, born in 1981 thanks to a donation that the family of Capua made to the hospital Niguarda. The decision to invest in named , 40 years ago when he was still little known, is of the hospital of the milanese one of the first – and today one of the few hospitals to have included in its structure a center of equestrian rehabilitation.

A few steps from the property of Neuropsychiatry of childhood and adolescence, in the centre is not taught to ride a horse, you therapy : each year, about 100 patients, aged between 18 months and 12 years, and through a project rehabilitation custom (the so-called PRI) approach to the horses and benefit at the psychological level, motor, relational. The paths occur in outpatient settings and are the responsibility of the national health System. "We have mostly patients with problems of the area, neuromotor, but also children with problems in emotional-relational, or autism spectrum disorders," says psychologist and psychotherapist, Michela Riceputi . "The lessons are divided into two parts. The first half hour is dedicated to the relationship with the horse: it is said that the baby go up, can also just wipe it off or try to climb. In the second part, instead, activities and employment, such as cutting of carrots or bread to bring to the animals of the stable".

in Addition to psychologist , to the occupational therapist or another specialist depending on the needs of the child, during the lesson there is also a coadjutor of the animal, as expected by the guidelines of the ministry of Health. A figure that follows the horse during the therapy, and that takes care of his wellness. "Each horse has been trained to have a character the more temperate as possible: is desensitized compared to some of the gestures of the children, that could be unexpected, in order to avoid reactions to sudden – continues Riceputi – the More the horse is relaxed, the greater the benefits for the patient."

From a therapeutic point of view, and the rehabilitation of horses are among the animals most interesting: not only allow you to work on the neuromotor children , but also on the relational dimension. And it is not negligible to the place where you is the therapy: almost always in the open or in the midst of nature. Thus, the beneficial effects are already there from the first meeting and again before going up, because with the horse is established immediately a bond of empathy. Is an excellent mediator, tell the expert of the center: "many children start before a relationship with him and only after you open up to the therapist".

The therapy horse, it is “sleeping”, i.e. without the saddle, but with a small cover, and practically the whole of the step. Several scientific evidences show how the biomechanical characteristics of the horse are able to act almost as a physiotherapy. "A child that fits the needs to continually make postural adjustments – confirmation Alice Passarini , the specialist in the department of Neuropsychiatry at the Niguarda – This helps him to have greater control of posture, in addition to relax the muscles and to have benefits on muscle tone". Then there is what is called a “maternage”: the trend wave horse recalls the cradle and the womb, stimulating memories and emotions about their past and their identity. But the walking of a horse is also useful for children who have problems with their gait: "gait to the step plays back a motion similar to that of two people who advance one behind the other – ends Riceputi – And the simple stay on the horse allows children to experience the walking".

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