Wednesday, September 11, 2013

An Old Posting from 15 Years Ago...

 We just found this, on an old website of ours from 1998. So, of historical interest only...
ANIMO: Late News.
Updated November 2nd 1998.

Barbara Napier, the director of Animo, is on the board of the Federation for Riding for the Disabled International (FRDI) - placed there at the international conference in Colorado in 1987. She has since attended the AGM in Paris this March and a further international meeting in Munich during September as part of an international AAT conference.

Hippotherapist Joan Would visited Animo on May 16 and 17, and imparted a two-day seminar to 25 physiotherapists, doctors and rehabilitation specialists. Joining her was the director of the Spanish Spina Bifida Association, Dr Carlos Miguelez. Information from Barbara 950 478 268.

The annual ANIMO dinner will be in Mojacar at El Puntazo on Wednesday, December 4th. During the evening, there will be a satellite link up with the Royal Prince, Felipe, the Duke of Asturias.

Talk to us about dolfin therapy? An associate from Madrid wishes to start a centre locally which sounds interesting.

ANIMO's animals are two dogs (under training), six horses, four donkeys, a rather affable pig, sundry rabbits, guinea pigs, peacocks, ducks, turkeys, about a hundred love birds and some chickens. Did I mention the sheep?

Cash is always short, as we don't charge our disabled friends, and we work with volunteers (thanks as always to Viv, Keith, Maria Rose, Lionel, Tina and Juanico). But we have one full time employee, light, maintenance and a lot of animal-feed to cover.

We now have over thirty students using the centre, from Almeria and Murcia provinces. Most have noted improvement in their mobility.

Our sessions (weather permitting) at the Era del Lugar centre in Mojacar (Almeria, Spain) are Mondays and Wednesdays, at 5.00 to 7.00pm and Sundays 10.30am to 1.00pm.

We're always looking to make new friends, give us a call 34 950 478 268 from outside Spain, or national call 950 478 268, and fax 950 478 789, or e-mail us at The Entertainer.

Miguel Rios Supports ANIMO

The Spanish rock star Miguel Rios joined the ANIMO gala evening at the Pascha discoteque in Mojacar, Almeria, last Saturday. Miguel, accompanied by Pepe Grano de Oro, the lead guitarist from the legendary Los Puntos pop group (rated during the late 'sixties as Spain's best selling band), performed two of his best known songs with a chorus of thirty children who accompanied him in sign-language. The gala, which featured Juan Roque, Corleone, Los Templarios and Backbeat, was organised by Barbara Napier, the president of ANIMO, an association which helps the disabled using animal assisted therapy. The keynote songs were 'El Himno de la Alegria' and 'Santa Lucia'. Miguel Rios, who had recently completed a Kurt Weill concert in Granada together with Ana Belén, said afterwards that he was delighted to freely give some of his time for such a noble cause. Around 1000 people attended the concert.


ANIMO, a non-profit association currently in its formative stages, consists of two distinct but complementary entities--a Research and Rehabilitation Center for Handicapped Persons, and a Farm and Wildlife Animal Conservation Center. Initiated as two separate entities, the overlap of interests and of key personnel provided a significant synergism by incorporating the two into ANIMO. The common element uniting all activities within ANIMO is the importance and utility of the relationship between man and animal. Animal Assisted Therapy and Animal Assisted Activities are almost unknown in Spain but are widely and successfully practiced in other countries.

A remarkable benefit has been observed when animals and humans come into contact with each other. Animals have a way of relieving the symptoms of depression and creating a calming effect, partly due to the animal's complete lack of prejudice and total acceptance of a person as he is, boosting self confidence and improving mental health. The improvement in patients with depression has been widely observed when interacting with animals, which is especially useful in accident victims who have to learn to deal with a new handicap. A tremendous improvement has also been noted in stroke victims when they come into contact with animals--just the touch of their fur seems to inspire muscular movement in paralized areas. The benefit of Animal Assisted Activities (AAA) and Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) is that the independence, integration, confidence, mental and physical health in the individual are improved. Animals can take the place of a missing sense, exercise and massage body parts that can no longer move on their own, or help with the tasks of everyday life, providing a happier, healthier life for the handicapped individual.The values of riding for the disabled and assistance dogs are described in detail in the following sections on horses and dogs.

ANIMO is aimed at, but not exclusive to, the physically and sensorally handicapped in Spain, which, according to a study carried out by INSERSO in 1986 and published in the Instituto Nacional de Estadisticas( INE ), was 5,191,063 people. Added to this number are the handicapped people from other European countries who have expressed a desire for a holiday, therapy and sport center in the south of Spain, where they may take advantage of the warmer climate.


ANIMO is involved with all aspects of the ways in which handicapped persons may benefit from their relationship with animals--specifically horses and dogs at this time.

Although the concept of handicapped persons riding horses may be unfamiliar and startling to many, therapeutic riding has been widely and successfully employed in other countries, particularly the UK and USA. It includes four major elements of providing treatment for people with disabilities:

Hippotherapy, in which the rider is influenced by the horse, rather than controlling it. The movement of the horse imparts a movement of the rider's pelvis that closely resembles that of walking. Under the supervision of a physiotherapist this movement can be used to stimulate the nervous and muscular systems of the rider. Physician- or therapist- prescribed exercises, which strengthen, stretch, and relax the muscles, can also be done on the horse's back.

Rehabilitative Riding is a type of treatment which uses functional horsemanship skills (movements while riding to maintain control of the horse) to achieve a therapeutic or educational goal, such as improved motor skills and speech/language skills.

Sports Riding is used to develop social skills and to provide recreational therapy and includes such activities as trail riding. Many handicapped people display an extraodinary ability in classical dressage and other equestrian events. At ANIMO we will provide top level training for these athletes to enable them to compete on local, national or international levels.

Developmental Vaulting, which is used to improve cognitive, perceptual, and motor skills, allows a rider to explore various types of movement on the horse's back.

The center will also provide Carriage Driving, both as a recreational activity and at competetion level.

Riding, whether for sport, therapy, or pleasure, is psychologically and physically advantageous for the handicapped. It gives him the opportunity to go places unavailable in his everyday life, and to experience the world from a new vantage point, the whole time providing the much needed stimulation to muscles and vital organs. Most of the trail-riding at ANIMO will be carried out on donkeys with specially fitted tack, as donkeys tend to be more surefooted and calmer for novice riders. This will also help revive a dying breed and bring a new usefulness to the Andalucian donkey, which is now an endangered species.

The instructor must have a real understanding and knowledge of horses and an ability to communicate with disabled people. He should have an understanding of the rider's disabilities and should work as part of a team including the physiotherapist/occupational therapist, center staff members, and other helpers. The team will set realistic goals to develop the full potential of each rider, while giving him a sense of achievement and enjoyment.

All ANIMO horses will be sponsored by companies, with the option to sponsor school horses or competition level horses, providing positive image and publicity for many years with a one-off cost and no on-going expenses or responsibilities. Near the stables and the kennels and with easy access to both, will be a complete veterinary surgery to cope with the needs of all the animals on site and to provide training facilities for students. All animals will undergo a veterinary inspection on acceptance and on-going supervision for vaccinations and worming. Aside from good health, the character of all dogs and horses will be studied by a team of ANIMO personnel to insure a good temperament and easy handling.

This activity is an outgrowth of an informal animal center which has been maintained for many years by the president of ANIMO at her home/farm. Due, perhaps, to the informal and casual setting of the center, all manner of birds and animals which do not normally breed in captivity have reproduced well. This has also been a popular educational and recreational center visited frequently by groups of local school children. All of the local communities have expressed interest in seeing this activity continued and expanded to enable the school children to experience, at first hand, typical farm and domestic animals which are no longer commonplace in their homes.

This center will be concerned with restoring the viability of native wild birds and animals which typically are brought to the center by concerned persons who encounter them in a distressed condition, such as very young birds which have fallen out of the nest , injured birds or animals which cannot survive on their own, and wild-type animals which have been raised in captivity and cannot compete in their proper environment. Every effort will be made to restore these creatures to a functional level such that they can be returned to their natural habitat. Those animals which are not capable of resuming normal existence will be kept at the center, where they are particularly appropriate, as often a handicapped person will relate especially well to a handicapped animal.

Since we will have a wealth of animals of all types and many volunteers, a practical step for us is the very successful Animal Visitation Program wherein animals are taken to other centers, hospitals, homes for the elderly, etc., where the patients often find the sight and touch of the animals both enjoyable and therapeutic.

The Town Hall of Vera has recently ceded three hectares (around eight acres) to the association, and is actively helping in the projected move to the new permanent site.
Barbara Napier, the President of ANIMO, has traveled widely in Europe speaking at conferences and on the radio and TV. Her boundless energy and determination has done much to bring the above-mentioned concepts to the attention of the Spanish handicapped societies and organisations.

ANIMO, Apto 34, Mojacar, 04638 Almeria, Spain
Telephones: (950) 472 277, (950) 528 862 (both voice and TTY/DTS) Fax: (950) 478 789.
Asociacion Benefica: No 137,284. CIF: F04219614
Bank: Caja Rural de Almeria, Mojacar Playa, 04638 Mojacar, Almeria, Spain. Account Number: 30580126142720001041.


ANIMO es una asociación nacional no lucrativa cuyo objetivo principal es la investigación y rehabilitación de personas discapacitadas mediante terapia asistida por animales (AAT), actividades asistidas por animales (AAA) y desarrollo de nuevas terapias derivadas de la experiencia adquirida. Todo ello sin menoscabo del seguimiento terapéutico aplicado usualmente por los distintos especialistas de nuestro sistema sanitario.
En España, la terapia y actividades asistidas por animales es una practica poco extendida y por lo tanto bastante desconocida. Sin embargo, la solidez del proyecto está basada en la actual experiencia y conocimiento de la terapia que avalan cerca de 100 años de trabajos de investigación y desarrollo en centros que la practican por todo el mundo bajo la supervisión de los respectivos servicios técnico-sanitarios.
La terapia con discapacitados asistida por animales se entiende como un programa de apoyo a otros tratamientos médicos que, trabajando como un equipo multidisciplinar, proporcionan índices mucho más elevados en los resultados perseguidos. Ofrece además este tipo de terapia la posibilidad de abrir nuevos horizontes de relación, ocio y deporte a personas que, debido a alguna discapacidad ven su vida limitada a un entorno inmediato, con poca esperanza de cambios o mejoras en su calidad de vida.


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