Cincinnati Airport Employs 34 Mini Horses to Help Passenger Anxiety

Posted by Amber King
therapy mini horses
Facebook/Seven Oaks Farm

Between making it through security and getting to your gate on time, airport travel is always stressful.

The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport is typically full of anxious travelers, but a team of therapy miniature horses is working to relieve the pressure.

According to NPR, the airport has recently debuted it's newest employees from Seven Oaks Farm in southwest Ohio. Denver, Ruby, Wendy, Harley, Teddy, and 29 of their friends visit the airport twice a month to help lighten the moods of stressed-out travelers.

{Ruby & Violet} #ittybittyhorses #therapyhorses #minihorse #makingadifference #kindnessmatters

A post shared by Seven Oaks Farm Therapy Horses (@ittybittyhorses) on

Wendi Orlando, the airport's senior manager of customer relations said in an interview with NPR:

"It's just to ease anxiety levels, put smiles on faces. Clearly that's working. When you look at the passengers walking by, it just never gets old. They love seeing the horses."

Children, sorority girls, new dads, and every other kind of traveler takes time to stop what they're doing and say hi to the horses. People of all ages stoop to scratch the mini horses behind the ears and pet their soft fur. And for a few seconds out of their hectic day of travel, their worries seem to melt away. The horses give people a sense of calm and always put them in a better mood.

The idea of using therapy animals in airports isn't new, but a pair of mini horses trotting through the terminal is a unique sight. Owner of Seven Oaks Farm, Lisa Moad, first got the idea with a mini horse named Dakota. She brought Dakota to the airport, and the response was overwhelmingly positive.

Since then, her mini horses can be found at locations and events all across the city. They're frequent visitors at local nursing homes and help college students deal with stress during finals week. The therapy programs are currently funded by donations, but Moad hopes future expansion will allow the horses to help even more people. They're a big hit in Cincinnati, and their 2017 schedule is already booked.

Pre-flight hang with Teddy, one of the #ittybittyhorses who cruise the Cincy airport. Standard work day. #squee

A post shared by Popi Benisch (@popibee) on

Many travelers even base their flights off of when the mini horses will be at the airport. If you plan on traveling through Ohio anytime soon, keep your eye out for these hoofed therapy animals. They'll be sure to put a smile on your face.

What do you think about using mini horses as therapy animals? Let us know in the comments.

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Cincinnati Airport Employs 34 Mini Horses to Help Passenger Anxiety