"On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...."

This beloved traditional holiday song is the inspiration for a seasonal blog series, "12 Days/12 Ways", an effort to draw attention to 12 worthy not for profit groups in Playa del Carmen and along the Riviera Maya and address their particular needs during this holiday season.

For each of the 12 days of Christmas, the BuyPlaya Blog, better known as "Life's a Beach" will spotlight a charitable organization. Many of these may already be familiar to locals and frequent travelers to this area. Others, perhaps those most in need of recognition and support, may be new to our readers. It is my plan to do this every year, with updated information and wish lists.

The "12 Day/12 Ways" list has been completed for 2010. The organizations are listed in no particular order. If you have a favorite charity that you feel belongs on this list, collect all of the information you can and I will be happy to consider your group for inclusion next year.


Center for Equine Therapy of Playa del CarmenThe Equine Therapy Center in Playa del Carmen AC was created in March 2008 to address the concerns of local parents with children with disabilities. Supported by the owners of the Equestrian Clubs of Playa del Carmen and Puerto Aventuras, this therapy program was launched to provide alternative therapies to people with disabilities living on the Riviera Maya. The Equine Therapy Center of Playa del Carmen works with children and adults with many different types of disabilities including cerebral palsy, autism, motor coordination impairment, down syndrome and hydrocephalus.

What is Equine Therapy?

The equine therapy is a uniquely comprehensive physical and psychological activity that is used therapeutically as an alternative rehabilitation treatment for patients with different types of disabilities. The horse is the therapeutic tool, acting as a stimulus for the patient. The horse's movement, allows the individual, while mounted, to receive a physical stimulus throughout the body, starting from the rhythmic impulse transmission to the pelvic girdle and moving through to the spinal cord neurons. The horse's body temperature, which is higher than the human body (38 ° C), acts as a natural heat tool helping the patient to relax their muscles, while sensory stimuli help regulate the circulatory system. The horse's gait closely approximates that of a human. Therapeutic riding gently and rhythmically moves the rider's body in a manner that improves muscle strength, balance, and flexibility. For individuals facing emotional or mental challenges, the discipline, companionship, and routine of the partnership between horse and rider help promote self-esteem, patience, and confidence. Universally riders, with or without special challenges or disabilities, find that horseback riding enhances their sense of independence.

Therapists address the unique therapeutic goals of each individual by having patients ride in different positions: sitting or lying forwards, backwards or sideways, standing in the stirrups and/or riding without holding on. Therapists may ask patients to stretch, reach or play simple games while mounted in order to improve concentration and coordination. Very small children or patients of any age with very severe physical limitations may ride with the therapist.

The center currently provides services in Equine and Aquatherapy. Future plans include integration of speech, occupational and physical therapies. The goal of the organizers is to provide access to these remarkable therapies to all segments of our community, to all the families who might benefit regardless of their personal economic conditions.


Equine Therapy Playa del Carmen 

How can you help?

Donate: Your donation will support life-changing therapeutic programs for low-income families who would not be able to afford these or similar rehabilitation programs. Donations ensure that The Equine Therapy Center of Playa del Carmen will be able to continue providing these services. If you would like to make a donation, please contact Maria Jose through Facebook.

Volunteer:  Fortunately, the Equine Therapy Center has sufficient trainers, therapists and equine assistants to administer these wonderful therapies and wonderful calm horses with whom they work. Desperately needed are volunteers to organize fundraisers, write grant proposals and help with administrative tasks. They are currently looking for someone to work on the website and take charge of promotional efforts to solicit more support.

Equine Therapy Playa del Carmen 

For more information:
Maria Jose on Facebook