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Our 5th Meeting was a success in sharing knowledge and learning!!!!!!

Our meeting just ended and we already miss all the teams!!

Between 11 and 14 October 2022 in Santarém, Portugal, we had our 5th Meeting, under the ERASMUS+ Project2020-1CZ01- KA204-078277- Training Specialists for the preparation of therapy horses for Equine Facilitated Therapies and Activities.


The Host was the group of The TKF-Research Group in Anthrozoology that, in partnership with the Agrarian School of the Polytechnic Institute of Santarém (ESAS), took responsibility for the organization of 2 days of work very well completed!The Equestrian Center of ESAS (Henrique Soares Cruz Riding School) was the perfect place for the Meeting in Portugal, not only for the unique particularity of using only a Portuguese breed that "we could say perfect" for the Equine Assisted Services- the horses of Sorraia- but also thanks to its very comfortable facilities, with everything we needed, and their people, who have received us so well.


Six countries participated in these working meetings - in addition to the host, Portugal- the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Turkey, Finland and Spain. 4 representatives from each country participated, so a total of 24 experts in the field focused on working on the creation of a "European Standard for The Preparation of Horses for Therapy and other Equine Assisted Services and an Examination Model for their Evaluation".

The work began with presentations by each team on how they prepare and promote the relationship between the horse and the client. For us, evaluating the interactions of the Equines with humans while preparing them for Assisted Services is very important. The concern in how we relate to our Horses is a new field of study and good practice.

Within the 5 Domains of animal welfare, the fourth Domain: Behavioral Interactions, defines the importance of a healthy interaction of animals with their environment and with the Beings that surround them, the human included. But also for the human this link is beneficial, and animals are an important component in human ecologies. Thus, some questions were pointed out: How do we make the Horses trust and connect with the humans with which they operate?? This issue is fundamental in a one-health concept and in the search for benefits not only for the Equine, but also for humans.

Professor of ESAS, António Vicente, meanwhile, had prepared an interesting presentation in front of the School Riding House, where he told us all about the history of Cavalo do Sorraia. He taught us details about the zootechnical characteristics of the breed, with reference to the particularities of this threatened primitive breed and the current concerns, since there are only 350 individuals in the world, with 18 breeders in total (Portugal and Germany).

We have seen the stallions and mares of the School that enchanted us all!

ESAS Equines Specialist Nuno Marques, responsible for the management of the School and Expert in Horses, demonstrated how he trains and prepares Sorraia horses for the Assisted Services with which they work at the School, mostly children with some disability, physical or intellectual. He made a truly genuine presentation, since it will have been the first that the stallion "Ziano" will have contacted the equipment taken by AEPM - Associação Equiterapêutica do Porto e Matosinhos, to prepare the special olympics , to be held the next day.


PICTURE- DEMONSTRATION OF TRAINING Nuno Marques- Equine Specialist Preparing the horses for EAS.

This afternoon we saw an excellent presentation of Paradressage by the international knight Pedro Félix, also a student in Veterinary Nursing at the Escola Superior Agrarian de Coimbra (ESAC - IPC), with his Lusitano Grijó, created by ESAC, exemplarily trained by Francisco Cancella de Abreu. And also a video of the incredible Ana Mota Veiga, and his coaches, Carolina Serrão and João Monteiro.The Sorraia stallions, presented by esas students, absolutely captivated us. We saw a demonstration of a carousel and still jumps of obstacles. It's really a versatile breed!


On the 2nd day of work, after a group morning at Quinta dos Anjos, on a wonderful day (we were lucky!!), we saw at the ESAS Riding Room a spectacular demonstration of the SOP- Special Olimpics Portugal (Working Trail and Dressage), prepared by AEPM and Joana Pereira - Member of the Special Olimpics Portugal Committee - held by three young riders."I want to win. But if I can't win, let me face the challenge courageously." This is the motto of the athletes of the Special Olympics Portugal, which was graciously defended by these well-disposed athletes. The cooperation that these young knights have achieved from the Sorraia stallions has been so well demonstrated here. Although it is the first time they met, horse and rider immediately established a particular connection!At the end of the work we went to Quinta da Lagoalva to meet the Lusitanian horses, bred in this exploration and, after also seeing the great wonder that is its Private Museum of Horse Cars, we visited the winery and tasted its wonderful wines.Erasmus+ projects not only focus on the results of targeted work, they also include knowing individual cultures, countries, and creating friendships among participants. The exchange of views and discussion of different points of view on a particular theme, based on the differences between countries and their culture, are also very important.

Project Partners

TheKidsFellows-Research Group in Anthrozoology (PT),

Ceska hiporehabilitacni spolecnost (CZ)

Nevsehir Haci bektas Veli University (TR),

Neigaliuju jojimo asociacija (LT)

Suomen ratsastusterapeutit ry (FI),

Asociación Proyecto Caballo (ES)

The organization from our TKF-Research Group in Anthrozoology was TOP.


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