Showjumper’s foundation puts spotlight on horse therapy

Edwina Tops-Alexander and Itot Du Chateau at the 2010 Global Champions Tour in Hamburg in 2010. © GCT/Karl-Heinz Frieler

A new foundation offering support for projects providing equine therapy for children and adults with mental and physical disabilities has been launched by showjumper Edwina Tops-Alexander.

Named for the Australian rider’s best-known showjumper, French-bred Selle Français gelding Itot Du Chateau, the new Itot Foundation aims to make horse therapy available to more people and to raise awareness of its benefits throughout the world.

Tops-Alexander said the foundation was inspired by “the bravery and warrior spirit” of 15.2hh Itot Du Chateau. He overcame a life-changing accident as a three-year-old, when he jumped out of his field and was hit by a car. He became one of the world’s best showjumpers, winning more than €3 million in prize money. “Toti” retired in 2014 at 18, having won Global Champions Tour titles in 2011 and 2012 and going to the 2008 and 2021 Olympic Games.

“My dream is that through the Itot Foundation we can all support the incredible work that can be achieved through the power of horse therapy to help adults and children overcome their disabilities and live more fulfilling lives,” Tops-Alexander said. “The therapeutic benefits of simply being around horses are amazing and when experienced by people of all ages with physical or mental impairments the outcomes are life-changing.”

Toti Equestrian, the fine jewelry range also developed by Tops-Alexander, will donate 2% of all sales revenue to the newly formed Itot Foundation.

“It is important to me to give back, so I also decided to create the Itot Foundation, honoring Itot’s resilience and helping people with disabilities through equine therapy. Horses are powerful healers and the foundation will fund projects that use the power of equine therapy,” Tops-Alexander said.

One of the projects already well underway the Itot Foundation is supporting the Sint Oda Equine Therapy Center, where it has been shown that the simple act of stroking a horse and just being around a horse can have transformative effects on vulnerable people facing overwhelming challenges in their lives.

These connections with a horse in a controlled environment under the supervision of experts help develop self-esteem, improve concentration, attention, and empathy and can make a disabled child smile and feel a sense of fun.

The new Itot Foundation aims to raise awareness of Equine Assisted Services and make horse therapy available to more people around the world.
The new Itot Foundation aims to raise awareness of Equine Assisted Services and make horse therapy available to more people around the world. © Global Champions Tour/Sofie Van Overloop

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