Vítor Rodrigues has three daughters, Felicia 35, Raquel 26 and 25 years old Rita. Vitor and Felicia run an wonderful equestrian school in Portugal. It focuses on a horse therapy called Hippotherapy. Together with her father Felicia is entirely dedicated to their family project despite having a university degree. Raquel also organises equestrian shows and charity events.
This is how it all started and why we have fallen in love with this remarkable family: Rita, lovingly known as Ritinha, was born with Struge-Weber Syndrome a rare condition which symptoms may result in seizures, developmental delays, glaucoma, paralysis, migraines, ischemic stroke, tissue overgrowth, organ irregularities and visual loss.
Ritinha’s development was normal but at the age of 3 she suffered severe convulsions and fall into a coma for three months. Ritinha had brain surgery, part of her brain was removed and doctors gave no hope for recovery. Ritinha lost her vision, speech and mobility, she was totally dependent. Not giving up on her daughter Vitor and the family got every available therapy to help her.
Then Vitor came about Hippotherapy and decided to purchase a horse for Ritinha’s rehabilitation. Twice a week they would travel many miles so that Ritinha could be with her horse. Quickly they started to witness Ritinha’s significant recovery. Both her sisters started horse riding and the whole family became passionate about horses.
In 2003 the Rodrigues family project started and bit by bit with much sacrifice they built up what is now the riding school. Everyone started to hear this inspirational story of hope about a disabled girl and her family’s incredible dedication and struggle.
Vitor then decided to help others with disabilities and in 2005 he opened the school to the public. Vitor and his family are fighters, an inspiration to us all. It is now our turn to help support them so they can carry on changing lives and giving hope where everything seems to fail. NEVER and NO are not in their vocabulary.