Letty Rangwanasha speaks on the benefits of using horse riding therapy for treating children with different special needs


She takes us through the campaign what the treatment entails: 

Tell us about yourself?

My name is Letty Lolo Rangwanasha, A Public Relations Graduate, and currently working at an Insurance company as Business Operations and a Mother to an amazing five year old boy named Nasiphi.

Why did you decide to start this campaign?

The Imatter Campaign was initially inspired my son Nasiphi who went through trauma during birth. The trauma resulted to a speech delay and epilepsy. I then enrolled him to a private Creche in Pretoria, which provided an amazing platform for my son’s development. Not only did it provide him with speech or Occupation therapy, it has horse riding which is known as Equi-therapy.

This was quiet new to me, and as the time went by, we noticed major improvement and that is when I learned more about benefits of horse riding for children living with different special needs.

Therapeutic riding benefits patients with cognitive, physical, emotional, social or a combination of these challenges. Children with disabilities are often restricted in their movements and interaction. With horseback riding or equestrian therapy, they are given the opportunity for independence and mobility. Riding an animal for therapy, offers physical and mental benefits to the handicap individual that are usually refused of outdoor experiences.

What’s the main purpose of the campaign?

The main purpose of Plummtree IMATTER campaign is to introduce Equi-therapy (horse riding therapy) to underprivileged children from different communities, for them to experience a fun safe environment to learn and reach their potential. 

We identified the need for a better future and hope for under privileged disadvantaged children in our community, the idea was not only to create awareness but to educate people about different kind of disabilities children are faced with and how “modern” ways allows us to provide therapy that can help our children fulfill their potential and enjoy equal opportunities.

How has the reception been so far from the public?

The reception has been quiet amazing, especially after hosting the first event on the 28th of April 2018. We invited Children from Zodwa Special school in Atteridgeville living with Autism/ Learning Disabilities and took them through a 30 minutes session of Equi-therapy, at Horse Dynamic cc in Pretoria East, which was amazing.

Sharing pictures on our @plumtree_za helped our audience and supporters understand the campaign even better.

The aim was for the public to donate R98 for a horse riding session for a child with special needs and indeed people did support and the first event was a success.

What can people expect from the events that you host?

Firstly, to learn about horse and the calming effect it has on people especially the ones living with special needs. To understand for instance autism, or a child who has down syndrome, they are also people just like us, I always say, “they are just differently abled” On the event. Guests also get a chance to hop on a horse to get over any fear they might have had and just to have fun. I would like to see it as a family fun day with purpose.

What can you expect from a therapeutic session?

In Equi-therapy, the therapist, the leaders, the ponies and preschoolers all form the therapy team.  Each member of the team plays a unique role to ensure the child receives the best and most effective treatment.  The therapy process includes teaching them horse riding skills.  The riders participate in a group therapy session that is generally divided into 10 minutes upper body exercises, 10 minutes lower body and 10 minutes horse riding skills.  The therapist's role is to assist with mounting and dismounting procedures, to supervise the pony's activity during treatment and to orchestrate therapy for the child on the horse.  The leader is very horse knowledgeable and maintains control of the pony's movement as directed by the therapist. He provides stability to the child and assists with exercises as directed by the therapist.  The pony provides a consistent and rhythmic movement pattern that facilitates the treatment goals, which are crucial  to the child’success.

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