This week on Because of Horses, Elise spotlights miniature horses who bring a their healing comfort to those in need.
For over 20 years, Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses have been bringing comfort and support to individuals, families and communities which have experienced loss, tragedy or trauma. From hospital rooms to scenes of natural disaster, these miniature horses have offered their own brand of healing to those most in need.
Founded in 1996, this Gainesville, Florida-based nonprofit has helped to heal over 25,000 adults and children across the United States. The organization is supported entirely by volunteers, donations and grants. Gentle Therapy horses do everything from work with occupational, physical and speech therapists to offering comfort at the scenes of traumatic events such as natural disasters, violence or loss. Their horses have worked in hospitals and hospices, as well as at community tragedies from the shooting at Sandy Hook to those dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
The Gentle Carousel equine therapists must complete a two-year training protocol which includes learning how to walk up and down stairs, ride in elevators, navigate hospital and camera equipment and maneuver in small rooms. In addition, all Gentle Carousel therapy horses are house trained and desensitized to sounds like alarms, sirens and helicopters.
Through their literacy program “Reading is Magic,” Gentle Carousel therapy horses are also brought into schools, at-risk youth programs, literacy events and libraries. Several Gentle Carousel horses look like equine characters in popular children’s books, while others are actual characters in books the children are reading.
Magic is one of the most famous of Gentle Carousel’s horses. Named by Times magazine as one of “History’s 10 Most Courageous Animals,” Magic is a member of both the Florida Veterinary Medical Association and the USEF/Equus Foundation Halls of Fame. Most recently, she was inducted as an official deputy with the Alachua County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office.
From comforting victims of unexpected tragedy to assisting those who are injured, ill or suffering a loss, the Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy horses have been there to help humans heal.
Listen to Elise’s conversation Friday, Feb. 22.
About Because of Horses
Each week, Elise Gaston Chand hosts informative and entertaining conversations with, for and about horses, horse-people and the equestrian life. Because of Horses is the horse-lover’s podcast for listeners worldwide, sharing notable equestrians’ personal stories, challenges, triumphs and expert insights, as well as timely topics and exciting event information from around the globe.
Go to BecauseofHorses.com for more.