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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Healing Horses Singapore is Healing Children - Part 2

Last week we introduced you to Chithra Rogers and her ground breaking program - Healing Horses Singapore. In Part 2 of our feature on Healing Horses Singapore, we'd like to show you how Chithra is using the Equicizer in her program and how it is changing lives. (Click here to read Healing Horses Singapore is Healing Children - Part 1)
Chithra strongly believes that the earlier children can begin therapy, the more beneficial it will be for them and the more positive the outcome in reaching them successfully. In Singapore, the starting age for children to begin horseback riding as a form of therapy is limited to 6 years and older, so Chithra began work on another project as she continues to wait for land purchase approval. After discovering the Equicizer, she decided to open up a multi-sensory play center under the Healing Horses Singapore program.
“The Equicizer is the main tool used in my indoor therapeutic horse riding program through my organization called Healing Horses Singapore,” Chithra says. “Each child gets a 45 minute session atop the Equicizer. Anything I used to do using actual horses, I can still carry out on my Equicizer and it’s very safe!”
Healing Horses Singapore, a privately owned not-for-profit organization mainly focusing on early intervention for young children, is now Singapore’s first indoor therapeutic horse riding training organization catering to children with special needs up to teenagers, using the Equicizer as the primary tool.
“My students love the Equicizer as it looks exactly like a life size horse with a realistic feeling mane and tail. Some of the kids enjoy grooming it after their session. I create little tasks for those kids who have just begun to take their first few strides with the Equicizer. I have kids flying over to Singapore for their sessions. It's amazing.”
Due to the difficulty in getting land approved in Singapore and the age restrictions for beginning therapy on real horses, the Equicizer is a key part of Chithra’s mission. With the Equicizer, Chithra is able to service students much younger than she otherwise would be able to and she is already building up a strong clientele of students, who come for sessions on the Equicizer, and are seeing incredible results in a very short span of time.
Looking to the future, Chithra says, “I would love to branch out Healing Horses throughout Asia as we've been approached by many neighboring countries to start up branches there. When time permits, we would definitely love to so.”
We are very proud of the work that Chithra is doing and look forward to following her progress with the Equicizer through the development of Healing Horses Singapore.
Check out their facebook page for updates and visit their website for more information!

by Kayla Jarvinen

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Healing Horses Singapore is Healing Children - Part 1

Chithra Rogers, following her combined passion for horses and children, is bringing awareness to kids with special needs in her home country of Singapore, and the Equicizer is being used as a main component in the development of this ground breaking project. We're excited to feature Chithra and tell her story as she continues to help children and forge new pathways in Singapore, inspiring people on a now global level.

Chithra was born in her native Singapore, but fueled by an interest in horse racing, she flew to Brisbane, Australia in 2002 to "attain holistic knowledge about race horses in both theoretical and practical aspects at the Australian Racing Institute." She returned to Singapore and joined the racing industry as a Trainee Apprentice Jockey following the completion of her apprenticeship. After realizing more of the risks involved in riding racehorses through personal experience, she changed course and left for Melbourne, Australia in 2006 to pursue a career in training. While there, she became a stable manager and volunteered at the RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association).
As time went by, in 2008, after moving back to Singapore and working as an assistant trainer, she made the tough decision to leave the racing industry for good. Her passion for horses was as strong as it had ever been, and through her volunteering at various therapeutic riding programs over the years, she had discovered a second passion which was equally as strong – raising awareness for children with special needs.
Dedicated to educating herself as much as possible, Chithra completed her academic qualifications in Learning Disorders Management and Child Psychology as well as Special Education. She noted that she also, "worked closely with mild to severe cases of Autistic Children at a reputable special needs school in Singapore" while pursuing her studies. She is currently an international member of PATH and is waiting to pursue her Masters in Special Education. Working with her Mentor, she stays informed on the latest interventions, allowing her to continue to polish her skills and knowledge.
About 4 years ago, Chithra started a quest to purchase land for a therapeutic riding center of her own. This has proved to be a very difficult task, due to the shortage of land available in Singapore. In Chithra’s own words, “That is when I came across this beautiful hand-crafted wooden horse the Equicizer from the USA. It made my dream come alive again! I was happy to meet the director of Wooden Horse Corporation – Mr. Frankie Lovato - a wonderful human being. He explained all about the Equicizer and also made me watch the start-up videos which are available in Youtube.”
In the meantime, Chithra approached many existing riding schools, sharing her vision and hoping to lease space to start her program. Surprisingly, this has proved to be another difficult task and after finding one such temporary place and holding lessons under the organization she founded, “Healing Horses Singapore”, things went south and others began trying to implement her ideas on their own.
So what did Chithra do? Carry on, of course.

"I developed a highly innovative indoor therapeutic horse riding school centered around the Equicizer, using a holistic approach incorporating medical, emotional and financial needs of the family and children involved. I want to make sure the training is accessible to a wider community and give children the help they truly deserve."
Check back on July 26th to learn how Chithra is using the Equicizer in her ground breaking program. 

You can also visit her website for more information.
by Kayla Jarvinen