As an expression of his concern for the special children, the former President of India Late Dr APJ Abdul Kalam gifted two Army horses to the Central Institute on Mental Retardation (CIMR). In 2007, the horses, Fairluck and Victor were formally handed over to Father Felix at the Rashtrapathi Bhavan and were brought to CIMR Trivandrum by the trainer Mr. Pradeep Kumar in an Army truck.
The President’s generosity enabled the vision of the founder-director Fr Thomas Felix to use horse riding as a therapy to sharpen the skills of the special children. It has been scientifically established that allowing children to ride, groom and mingle with horses would sharpen their senses as horses were known for their mental agility and physical dynamism
Pradeep Kumar, a national equestrian champion from the Army and his colleague Netram stayed in CIMR premises for a fortnight to get the horses familiarized with their new environment.
Dr. Kalam had shown interest in the activities of CIMR even before he became the President. In the year 2000, he visited the CIMR headquarters Jeevan Prakash to inaugurate the Performing Arts Centre that was set up to help the mentally challenged special children develop their artistic talents. On his first visit to Kerala after becoming President, Dr. Kalam had released Fr. Felix’s book on the special people with mental challenges titled ‘Not less than you.
Kalam then invited Fr Felix and Sr Elise of CIMR to come to New Delhi along with the special children to receive the horses at a ceremony held in the Mughal Gardens of the Rahstrapati Bhavan.
CIMR’s built facilities in their agricultural farm located in the outskirts of the city, to accommodate the horses. The ample space allows the children to mingle with the horses and provides a healthy surrounding for the horses to stay.