On 11 and 12 February 2021, the online kick-off meeting of the Erasmus project TRYDE – Therapeutic Riding for Youth and Children with Intellectual Disabilities took place. The project brings together the experience of 5 partners from different countries: Centro Di Riabilitazione Equestre Girolamo De Marco (C.R.E. – Italy), Therapeutic Riding Association of Greece (T.R.A.G. – Greece), Maendeleo for Children (MfC – Italy), Academia de Formação Equestre e Hipoterapia de Valongo e Campo (AFEHVC – Portugal) and Asociaciòn Espanola De Equinoterapias (AEDEQ – Spain).
The TRYDE project responds to the European Union priority “Encouraging social inclusion and equal opportunities in sport” by promoting equal opportunities and education, increasing social inclusion and autonomy of young people with intellectual disabilities (13-21 years old) through multiple activities based on Equestrian Rehabilitation.
Equestrian Rehabilitation, according to authoritative psycho-motor theories, is a therapeutic method that considers the active participation of the person in the rehabilitation. The man-horse relationship, embedded in specific protocols typical of the social-health field, is the central point of the therapeutic intervention. It is widely recognised that the interaction between people and horses has physical, psychological and social benefits. This methodology complements the work of many professionals, physiotherapists, speech therapists, educators and psychotherapists who use equine activity to enhance their work.
The TRYDE project will involve associations experienced in Equestrian Rehabilitation and disability, experts in intellectual disabilities, civil society organisations, social services and authorities in the creation of a permanent cross-sectoral study committee for the development of inclusive policies and practices based on Equestrian Rehabilitation for people with intellectual disabilities. Secondly, training for professionals, instructors and experts in the equestrian sector will be promoted in order to enhance their know-how in supporting young people with intellectual disabilities. Furthermore, 20 young people with autism from different countries will be involved in Equestrian Rehabilitation sessions carried out by the professionals who participated in the training phase.