| Oct 26, 2023
Horses as encouragement: Help after the flood
Building trust, overcoming challenges, finding yourself
again: riding therapy offers help children and their
parents in a variety of ways.
Several alliance organizations of Aktion Deutschland Hilft
have launched psychosocial support projects, such as ASB and
Riding therapy in Mechernich
In Mechernich, a child sits upside down on a horse and
laughs loudly. The other children on the farm in the middle
of the countryside also seem relaxed, happy and completely
absorbed in what they are doing: grooming, feeding or taking
the ponies for a walk.
Riding therapy helps the whole family
“Horses simply provide security,” says riding therapist Isabell.
Together with the Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund (ASB), it supports
flood-affected children in coming to terms with the experiences
of the flood in summer 2021. As the children do their rounds on
the animals, you can really notice how the children ignore worries
and problems - and find new self-confidence.
Alexandra also has this experience. She works in the field of
trauma education herself and, as a flood-affected person, regularly
visits the ASB aid project with her two children. The positive effects
can be felt by the whole family.
Her daughters were six and four years old when the flood came.
The saying that children are tough is not true, she explains.
Instead, the consequences of traumatic experiences often only
became apparent later. “Every rain causes fear,” she says.
“Difficult times need joy to balance”
The riding therapy helps her children cope with the strenuous
months after the flood. That's exactly what's important now,
two years after the catastrophe: "Difficult times need joy to
balance them out."
How Pony Merlin helps the little ones
Pony Merlin lives in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler. Even on this hot
summer day in July, several children gather around the gentle animal.
The small riding arena is surrounded by hilly meadows where apple
trees and daisies grow.
“We are happy that we were able to create this offer and that it
is free for the children and parents,” says Manuela. She heads the office
of the Child Protection Association in the Ahrweiler district association.
Together with her colleagues, she launched the aid project “4 Hooves of
Happiness – Adventure Education with Pony”.
There, young people between the ages of six and eight affected by the
flood find new strength in a playful way by grooming and riding through
the vineyards. It is funded by Help, an alliance organization of Aktion
Experience nature and find new strength
“After the flood, the first thing we did was clean up and get rid of the
chaos,” says Manuela. "Only then did the time for psychosocial offers
came." Many families would have had little time and calm in the middle
of the reconstruction - and the helpers also had to reorient themselves.
Finding her way around the variety of clubs, offers of help and networks
wasn't that easy at first, she reports, while a few meters next to her
one of the children bravely lies on the back of pony Merlin. But thanks
to a tip from AHRche, Manuela and her team got help.
Among other things, the aid organization promotes clubs that create help
in the areas affected by the flood. "This is really a great thing and
we are very happy about the cooperation," says Manuela.
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