Step aside therapy dogs. Here come mini therapy horses.
While dogs are traditionally thought of as therapy animals, mini horses provide crucial equine therapy to people worldwide. These little horses run therapy programs for people with special needs, first responders, nursing homes, and those with disabilities. These tiny horses even go into assisted living facilities to visit seniors.
What Do Therapy Mini Horses Do?
Non-profits like Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses and Lifting Spirits Miniature Therapy Horses work with people on a regular basis to enhance the quality of life for those who may need some uplifting.
Lifting Spirits works to "bring hope, joy, and wellbeing to people of all ages and abilities." They work with 85 nursing homes, Alzheimer's Units, children's hospitals, medical centers, schools, and assisted living facilities on a regular basis. Typically, a visit to any of those places lasts about an hour. They also incorporate the mini horses in an anti-bullying program and a reading program.
Gentle Carousel is similar. They have been around for 20 years and have done more than 25,000 therapy visits with people of all ages. They visit hospitals, hospice programs, families, veterans, and first responders like law enforcement and more.
Why Mini Horses?
For one, tiny horses are far easier to walk into buildings than their full-size cousins. According to Medicine Horse, these pet partners can play a vital role in the therapeutic process for many different people. Horses, no matter their size, are "intuitive, honest, and responsive." They also are very friendly creatures who care about relationships much like humans do, making them perfect for outreach and providing comfort to those who need it.
Gentle Carousel was there with their mini horse helping people process after Sandy Hook and in Charleston and Orlando after the shootings in both locations. Horses are gentle and loving. They often help people relax and are great confidence boosters.
How Much Does A Mini Therapy Cost?
Non-profit charities often will bring the horse to locations for free. However, they are dependent on people's donations and usually do not receive any money from the government to subsidize their costs.
On average, therapy horses cost $200-$550 to care for, depending on the facility and the individual horse's needs. If you want to buy one of your own, they can run anywhere from $800 to $5,000.
Have you had quality time with a miniature therapy horse? Tell us about it on our Wide Open Pets Facebook page!