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Quarteira Akredita children blossom through contact with horses

Quarteira Akredita children blossom through contact with horsesThe finale of a six session project supported by Almancil International Rotary came to fruition last Thursday when 8 youngsters from the Akredita em Ti association showed off their newly acquired skills to friends and supporters at Pinetrees Riding, Almancil.

The Akredita em Ti project is run by coordinator Sónia Luz, who creates a haven for less privileged youngsters and those at risk in Quarteira. These children are nurtured by her team to become more fulfilled through sport, support with studies, and knowing someone cares about them. The name means "Believe in Yourself".

Sónia had heard about the work done at Pinetrees in using the horse to develop people through horse riding in many different ways but wanted to know if the riding school would take on 8 of her most challenging children.

After careful assessment of candidates by psychologist Luiz Barbosa, and creating objectives, the project was ready to search for financial support. The ever dynamic Almancil Rotary stepped in and agreed to sponsor the pilot scheme of 6 sessions.

Sessions consisted of 30 minutes on horseback but were also preceded by time to bond with the horse through brushing and caring and learning how to saddle up. It has to be said that the kids were never late for the bus to bring them to the centre, kindly supplied by Quarteira Junta da Freguesia (Parish Council). Right from the start there was great motivation and enthusiasm by intelligent children eager to learn and succeed.

The finale on Thursday 27th June, consisted of preparing the horses and then dressing up in white breaches, polished riding boots, and riding hat . New polo shirts, sponsored by Anna and Chris, had the riders name displayed the Akredita and Rotary name and logo which was kindly produced at great speed by Janeth of Bordados Borld.

Riders proudly showed their newly acquired skills to ride their horses through an obstacle course, demonstrating their decision making and team work with their horse. A very scary thing to do in front of a crowd of new people!

Half way though the morning there were two surprise visitors for the children: two mounted policemen came riding by from the Loulé GNR. They were invited to join the proceedings by Beverley, owner of Pinetrees, and they created a great rapport with the children through the medium of the horse with the aim to show that they were "friends not foe”.  One of the boys was privileged to  ride a police horse and one boy said he wouldn’t mind doing that as a job in the future! Cabo Marcolino invited him to come along and see them when he reaches 18 years old.

Accompanied by much applause, rosettes for achievement were presented by the Presidents of the Almancil and Quarteira Parish councils ( Sr. Joaquim Pinto and Sr. Telmo) ) and representatives of Loulé council Dra. Cristina Teixeira and Dra. Neusa Saraiva. David Thomas of Safe Communities and and Almancil Rotary President also presented rosettes.

Afterwards everyone mingled and enjoyed the outdoors in pleasant sunshine and ate cake……

Quarteira Akredita children blossom through contact with horses

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