Donkey therapy is directed at children that are mentally and/or physically disabled. The therapy consists of the implementation of different exercises depending on each child and on their level of disability. Some of the children are able to ride on the donkeys back and others in the carriage, during this exercise the children are presented with other objects with which they interact.
The physical and emotional benefits that the animals offer to the patients have been recently recognised in psychiatric hospitals and residential homes for the elderly. It has been well documented that the animals have a calming effect on the patients.
Furthermore donkeys are the centre of attention for the children, even the most agitated, nervous child becomes calmer when stroking or talking to the donkeys. A secret shared with a donkey will never be revealed, as it may be if it were to be shared with another human.
Learning new skills in a therapy session with the donkeys in a safe and affectionate environment is also very enjoyable. The achievable and accessible goals set in each session of donkey therapy motivate the children, causing their self-esteem and confidence to grow, which most of the time lacks in so many of the children.
Specially chosen and trained donkeys
Although the majority of the donkeys suffer with the scars, both mental and physical of their hard past, some of the donkeys collected are young, healthy and with their calm character they become suitable to work with people and children with special needs.
The chosen donkeys are trained for the job as a therapy donkey, so that they become accustomed to the saddle and/or cart, teaching them to load and to unload from the lorry and/or horse trailer. They are also trained so that they are used to loud noises, fast and startling movements, unexpected situations etc. on the whole making the behaviour of the donkey totally predictable and safe for the user.
A free service that with your help is possible
Donkey therapy is free to the user; we do not charge anything to join the therapy program. The required expenditure to provide this service is effectively budgeted for and the Association El Refugio del Burrito assigns the necessary amounts for its implementation, deducting them from the funds raised in Spain.
Your help is very important
To help raise funds to continue our work with these special children, please make a donation. By doing so, you will help pay for two sessions of donkey riding therapy.