For some people, the coronavirus pandemic has boosted the need for horse therapy, an outdoor activity with a low risk of contagion. In this Madrid centre alone, there has been a 30% increase in demand, and now there is a waiting list.
Alicia Rodrigo, an equine therapy participant said she finds it soothing. "I find it very relaxing to come here and be with Maui. Then also the fact of having an obligation to take care of an animal is very important."
The activity must be supervised by professionals. In addition, what is known as a binomial is created, which means, the horse that best suits the patient's needs is chosen:
"What we are going to do is work on the therapeutic goals that our patient needs, goals in the motor, cognitive or language area and what we are going to do is work on them introducing the horse and all through didactic material or through play," says Mara Solano, Physiotherapist at El Paso Association.
Bárbara Clement is a psychologist and president of the El Paso Association and she talks about the relationship between humans and horses doing the therapy together:
"On one side, there is the horse and the movement it has, the rhythmic impulses and the warmth it transmits to those who ride it, and on the other side, there is the effective tie that is created with the children or with the adults who ride them."
One in five Spaniards is thought to have suffered from depression because of the pandemic.