Nonprofit organisation Gentle Carousel uses miniature horses in therapy sessions to bring all the beauty and comfort of a horse to those who need it, but in a much smaller, less intimidating package.
Gentle Carousel is run entirely by volunteers, first opened in Florida almost 20 years ago and now has branches in New York, California and Greece.
The teeny tiny horses are carefully bred and have many years of training, which makes them suitable for people who want to get close to a horse but can’t do it in the usual way, such as those who have limited mobility.
Founder Debbie Garcia-Bengochea explained to Huffington Post why patients love the miniature horses so much: “While a large horse can be intimidating to a small child or fragile senior, the miniature horses were easier for them to trust and befriend.”
Gentle Carousel has around 25 horses who bring joy to over 45,000 adults and children each year, visiting patients in hospitals and hospices, tornado survivors, child-trafficking victims and children in orphanages.
One of their most popular equine therapists, Magic, was even featured in Time magazine's list of the top 10 heroic animals in history.
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