During this time of year, I receive much mail regarding horses who visit the less fortunate Humans: kids in hospitals, elders in homes, Veterans, The disabled in care centers… you name it, horses will go visit and spread their serenity.
Have you ever thought about teaching your friendly, ‘in your pocket’, lovely and soothing horse to be a therapy horse?
There are therapy horses who live in a barn and the patients go to them… and there are therapy horses where the horses go visit the patients, wherever they may be.
This post today is about the horses who go visit others and how to start on the road to certification for your horse.
I clipped a few memorable equine therapy visits from this season. For me, I hadn’t really considered a therapy horse for Final Exam week for college students (Thank you, Spanky and Peanut), or for relief to First Responders.
You know, if you really thought about it, there aren’t too many places where a horse wouldn’t bring some magic and joy into the day…!
Anyway, here are some photos to get your creative juices flowing.
HOW CAN YOU DO THIS WITH YOUR HORSE?
I’m not expert since I just started thinking about this today… but I did find this websites that could help you get started.
1) Certified Therapy Horse Association: This site says it is the ONLY certification board for Therapy horses…
IT MAY NOT BE EASY, BUT IT IS WORTH IT…
I found these wise words on the Gentle Carousel Website:
Gentle Carousel is an ALL VOLUNTEER nonprofit charity and not a business. No one makes money at Gentle Carousel but our founders /volunteers have sure spent money, paying for most of the costs of travel themselves. Gentle Carousel does not charge a fee for visits to hospitals, hospice programs or with families and first responders who have experienced traumatic events.
Running a charity like Gentle Carousel is expensive. Unlike therapy programs where people go to horses, we transport horses to people. Finding ways to cover travel costs, insurance, care of therapy horses etc. is a huge challenge each month. Our teams of therapy horses work with over 25,000 adults and children each year. We think every smile is worth the cost.
Gentle Carousel therapy horses go through at least a two year training program so we know what to expect from them when they enter a hospital or school. They ride in elevators, walk on different floor surfaces, walk up and down stairs, carefully move around hospital equipment, handle unexpected situations like ambulance sirens, helicopters landing and alarms… and they are house trained.
?Our therapy horses are also insured. We would NEVER consider taking a horse to a program, especially indoors, without excellent liability insurance, even with the most gentle, experienced therapy horses.
We cannot take animals on therapy visits that we have not personally trained and that are not covered by our insurance policy.
SOME HAVE CREATED THEIR OWN NEW IDEAS FOR EQUINE INTERACTION
A reader sent this information to me on a program she created with several other horsewise people through Windchill’s Legacy. They are starting in the classroom teaching Animal Husbandry. Nice.
I thought you might get a kick out of what our Spanky, laminitis survivor, and his best friend Peanut “do for a living”. Spanky’s 31″, and Peanut is 28″, and are the Windchill Legacy’s ambassadors. They also Pet Pals registered therapy animals–both passed the test with flying colors. I developed a Power Point that teaches kids how to properly care for animals, made with input from vets, our local humane shelter director, a zoo educational director, and Dr. Carolyn Stull from UC-Davis as well as Theresa Batchelor @ BHFER). We present it in schools as interactively as possible–15 min. for the little ones, a half hour for upper elementary, with Spanky and Peanut coming in to meet them at the end.
We do only 2 classes per school visit, and leave at least 1 day in between visits. They are absolute rock stars, and we’re very proud of their work. Happy Holidays!
A FEW MORE HAPPY MOMENTS… (Big horses can do this, too…)
All of these photos are from Therapy Horses of Gentle Carousel.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS, EVERYONE!!
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