Riding Together - Solidarity on Horseback known as RITSH, aims to promote social inclusion and equal opportunities using horse-mediated activities, within an international partnership between organizations from six European countries: The British Horse Society(BHS, United Kingdom), Institut Français du Cheval et de l'Équitation (IFCE; France), Movigo Sport (Germany), Scuderie del Peschio (SdP; Italy), University of Vic - Central University of Catalonia (UVic; Spain) and Todos a Galope (TaG; Portugal). Riding Together – Solidarity on Horseback is being developed with the support of the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.
The World Health Organisation understands health as a complete state of well-being, that can only be achieved in a healthy and inclusive community. Sport and leisure activities, in a natural environment, are key to enhancing human well-being and they are also a powerful tool to promote social inclusion. Equestrian activities fall into this category as they have important health-enhancing effects, however, in today’s society they are only accessible to an exclusive minority.
Along with the benefits of taking part in sport, establishing a relationship with a horse has incredible effects on an individual’s well-being, meaning activities with horses are often used with therapeutic goals in mind. Equestrian activities can help develop self-esteem, personal and social skills and can therefore be an empowering tool to fight social exclusion and poverty, especially in children. By providing equal access to equestrian activities, this project aims to promote social inclusion through sport, as well as increasing participation in equestrian sport, which we know to be a health-enhancing physical activity.
This collaborative partnership aims to contribute towards social inclusion, through equestrian activities, whilst ensuring that this and future projects in this domain are economically sustainable and grounded on evidence-based practice. For this purpose, RITSH will create, implement and disseminate a European model for a sustainable social enterprise which is dedicated to horseback riding and horse mediated therapy for all. This model will help organisations to promote such enterprises in local contexts and to acquire relevant skills, knowledge and competencies in order to succeed.