The Provvida Madre Foundation has been active in the Canton Ticino, Switzerland since 1970: its purpose is to provide facilities and services for disabled minors and adults. The Foundation welcomes in its institutions children and adults with severe intellectual disability, often associated with physical and / or mental handicap. Mirtillo is a docile and gentle horse, placed at the “Piccola Scuderia” in Novazzano (Ticino, CH): the horse was purchased by private donors and is made available to the Provvida Madre Foundation for pedagogical projects. Mirtillo Project pedagogical goals Provvida Madre foundation offer to his guests the possibility to regularly leave the institute and live a different experience from their every-day context. During this experience guests have an additional opportunity to socialize with people outside the institute, and move in an environment in close contact with nature, where they can gain experience and prove themselves: they can implement different skills from those normally needed in their usual protected environment.
The therapeutic activity with the horse Mirtillo, mediated by a person skilled in horse riding and specific equestrian knowledge, in collaboration with educators and carers, opens up various opportunities for stimulation for guests:

● Emotional bonding with the horse, openness to the world of emotions
● Sensory, visual, olfactory, tactile and vestibular stimuli
● Health benefits of an outdoor activity
● Encourages the meeting and knowledge of people other than those of their foyers
● Promotes the discovery of other abilities, overcoming one’s own limits.

The pedagogical activity in contact with Mirtillo takes place weekly at the “Piccola Scuderia” in Novazzano, together with professionals specialized in horse management and equestrian experiences with disabled users. Groups of 4/5 disabled adults and their carers are involved.
The contribution of GIORGIO DEIANA FOUNDATION At the request of some disabled people participating in the activity, the Provvida Madre Foundation would also like to allow disabled guests to get on the saddle of Mirtillo. To be able to do this safely, it’s necessary​ to have a dedicated lift for some guests, with the related harness, which helps the operators to carry out the lifting operation in a risk-free way. Giorgio Deiana Foundation has decided to contribute to the project through the purchase of the lift and the support to the management of the horse in the stable, to ensure the guests of the Institute the pedagogical activity in contact with Mirtillo.