Category Archives: Equine Assisted Therapy

Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses – Still Making Visits

Photo — Scout at Brookdale Chambel Pinecastle, an assisted living facility in Ocala, Florida.

Therapy horse Scout usually visits hospital patients and residents of assisted living programs from room to room. When those facilities close to visitors due to the coronavirus pandemic, what is a 100-pound horse to do?

He brings his 2000-pound Percheron friend Tiny Prince Charming to visit waiting residents through the windows while human volunteers hold up signs with messages of love. Scout could not go inside and residents could not come outside, but they still touched each other’s hearts. Scout and Tiny Prince Charming put their noses on the windows when patients put their hands on the glass.

Scout is a member of Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses. For the last 22 years their teams of tiny horses have been bringing love to over 25,000 adults and children each year inside hospitals, hospice programs, assisted living programs, and with families, veterans, and first responders who have experienced traumatic events.

The therapy horses are also still working in children’s hospitals by using prerecorded programs combined with live video from their farm.

Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses
www.Horse-Therapy.org
www.facebook.com/TherapyHorses
www.instagram.com/gentlecarousel

Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses – Virtual Visits

“There is a pony on the phone for you.”

Many young hospital patients develop a special friendship with a favorite therapy horse over the months of their medical treatment. When the therapy horses can’t physically be with a patient (like after a bone marrow transplant or if they go home between treatments), the horses have made FaceTime calls to check on their young friends.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses is using a home studio to stay in contact with their friends in hospital care across the country.  “There is a pony on the phone for you.”

The horses make individual calls and plans are also underway to have a combination of pre-recorded story times and live feed from the therapy horses to play in rooms for entire children’s hospitals. This would use hospital studios that the horses have already been visiting in person for many years.

Gentle Carousel is also recording reading programs because the horses cannot do their regular library and school visits.

Virtual Fundraiser

Gentle Carousel’s two main fundraisers of 2020 to support the charity have been postponed/cancelled due to the current health situation, including the Walk Like a Pharoah Walkathon and Festival.

Instead of a large, public walkathon, the charity will have a “mini walkathon” fundraiser that can be watched safely from home. Three special horses will make the walk using the track where Triple Crown winner American Pharoah trained at the McKathan Brothers Training Center in Citra, Florida.

Tiny therapy horse Scout, a 2000-pound Percheron named Prince Charming, and The Sundance Kid, a recently adopted mustang who had been living in the wild on public range lands in Nevada, will be filmed while they walk together. The Sundance Kid had been passed over three times for adoption at three separate adoption events, making him a “three strikes” “unadoptable” mustang until he found his forever home.

The volunteers handling the horses will wear masks and keep “one Percheron distance” apart from each other during the walk.

Friends can sponsor Scout, Prince Charming, and The Sundance Kid to support Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses at: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/GentleCarousel.

The “mini walkathon” can be watched on April 27th starting at 7pm on Gentle Carousel’s Facebook page.

Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses is one of the largest equine therapy programs in the world. Teams of tiny horses bring love to over 25,000 adults and children each year inside hospitals, hospice programs, assisted living programs, and with families, veterans, and first responders who have experienced traumatic events.  A multiple award winning 501(c)(3), the charity is celebrating over 20 years of service.

Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses
www.Horse-Therapy.org
www.facebook.com/TherapyHorses
www.instagram.com/gentlecarousel

Eagala Celebrated 20th Anniversary with Record-Breaking Attendance at 2020 Conference

Lexington, Ky. – March 16, 2020 – Eagala recently celebrated their 20th Anniversary with record-breaking attendance during their Vision 360 conference on February 26-29. Over 630 people, Eagala members and those passionate about equines from across the U.S., and twenty countries gathered in Lexington to network, learn, and celebrate the past 20 years, while creating clarity for the next 20 years in the rapidly growing Eagala Model approach. The Eagala Model combines licensed mental health professionals, qualified equine specialists, and horses to effectively work with clients addressing mental health issues.

As part of the conference, Eagala was proud to host the Congressional Horse Caucus on Saturday, Feb. 29th.  Eagala CEO, Lynn Thomas, with the support of the American Horse Council, and members of the Congressional Horse Caucus attended a live, hands-on demonstration with horses and a panel discussion at the Lexington Convention Center.

Thousands of pounds of dirt were brought in to transform the basement of the Lexington Convention Center into a working indoor arena. Following the demonstration, the panel met about the impact of incorporating horses in mental health services for Veterans with PTSD and re-entry transitions, suicide prevention, substance abuse recovery, rural mental health issues, and other mental health needs in which horses can have a positive impact on treatment outcomes.

In attendance was Horse Caucus Co-chairman Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY 6), a member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, who prior to the Caucus participated in an Eagala session with Kentucky-based veterans. Representative Barr has been a strong advocate for this method to improve the lives of veterans and horses, including retired racehorses.  He has led legislation funding equine-assisted services for mental health issues through the Veterans Administration Adaptive Sports Grant, and co-sponsored the IMPROVE Well Being for Veterans Act (H.R. 3495) – a veteran suicide prevention bill to provide grants to community organizations that interact with veterans who may not seek care at the VA, and includes access to equine-assisted services.

Invited to participate in the panel were members of the Congressional Horse Caucus, leaders in the horse and equine-assisted services industries, and veterans and others who have benefited from these services. The Caucus was moderated by Eagala Legislative Director, Ellen Stroud. To learn more about Eagala, please visit their website here.

Magic the Sugar Plum Fairy

Therapy horse Magic celebrated the holidays with her ballet dancer friends on stage for The Magic of the Nutcracker! at the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Gainesville, Florida.

The special performance by the Dance Alive National Ballet was for children from the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. They experienced the all-time family favorite by sitting right on the stage, feeling vibrations through the floor and speakers, and touching the costumes and dancers to see the art through their fingertips.

Magic’s costumes, including the sugar plum fairy and Santa’s elf, were made by a Dance Alive National Ballet costume designer.  Magic was an equine professional both on and off the stage.

Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses
www.gentlecarouseltherapyhorses.com

Book Release of Mercury & Sirius

Just because we are different doesn’t mean we can’t be friends. We just need to care about each other. That is the magical message of real-life best friends Mercury and Sirius, a miniature therapy horse and his canine companion.

Therapy horse Mercury works with Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses, one of the largest equine therapy programs in the world. The therapy horses were called in to comfort survivors and first responders of the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC, and the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL. They helped the tornado survivors of Moore, OK, victims of the fires in Gatlinburg, TN, families in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, and they visit thousands of patients in children’s and veterans’ hospitals across the country each year.  A multiple award winning, 501(c)(3), the charity is celebrating over 20 years of service and brings love to more than 25,000 adults and children a year.

The therapy horses also “bring books to life” for thousands of children each year inside schools, libraries, mentoring programs, at literacy events, and at education resource centers in high crime neighborhoods. Gentle Carousel’s literacy program has a special focus on at-risk readers.

The heartwarming friendship between Mercury and Sirius has been featured in national magazines and on television programs. Now they have a beautiful children’s book scheduled for release on November 15, 2019.  Mercury & Sirius is currently available for pre-order on Amazon (Prime), Barnes and Noble, and other top booksellers.

Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses
www.gentlecarouseltherapyhorses.com
352-226-9009

Therapy Horses Magic and Moonshadow Special Guests at Hats Off Day

Therapy horses Magic and Moonshadow will be special guests on Saturday, July 27 at Hats Off Day at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. It is the only day of the year that admission to the Horse Park is free. Hats Off Day is sponsored by our wonderful friends at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital and is a celebration of the horse and its impact on the state of Kentucky.

Moonshadow will be driving into the Kentucky Horse Park Rolex Outdoor Stadium in style… in a Mercedes convertible!

There will be fun family activities and free horse farm hats, generously provided by area horse farms and businesses, that are given to the first attendees to arrive. Hats Off Day is from 4 to 10 p.m. at the Kentucky Horse Park, but the Horse Park is free all day. At 7:30 p.m., The Rood & Riddle Kentucky Grand Prix begins. It is a premier show jumping competition held annually at the Kentucky Horse Park for the past 25 years, with a $50,000 grand prize.

Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses
www.gentlecarouseltherapyhorses.com
352-226-9009

Therapy Horse Mercury to Be in Live Oak International Parade of Nations and Breeds

Therapy horse Mercury will be in the Live Oak International Parade of Nations and Breeds on Thursday, March 7, 2019 at the Ocala Downtown Square. He will be one of the horses available for a photo opportunity.

Look for Mercury at the beginning of the parade right behind title sponsor and Grand Marshal, Chester Weber, with the Grandview Clydesdales.  Mercury is in Position #1 and will be just a little smaller than his Clydesdale friends.

There will be lots of music, food, and family fun and over 25 different horse breeds.

Debbie Garcia-Bengochea
Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses
www.gentlecarouseltherapyhorses.com
www.facebook.com/TherapyHorses
www.instagram.com/gentlecarousel
352-226-9009

Ten Years of Magic

When a real horse walks into a child’s hospital room it is always a magical experience.

Therapy horse Magic is celebrating ten years of bringing her special magic to adults and children who need it most.

Magic has comforted survivors and first responders of the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC, and the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL. She worked with the tornado survivors of Moore, OK, victims of the fires in Gatlinburg, TN, child trafficking victims in Washington, D.C., families in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, and thousands of patients in children’s and veterans’ hospitals across the country.

Magic works with medical professionals in oncology units, the ICU, and with occupational, speech and physical therapists as part of the treatment teams for patients who have suffered strokes, traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, amputations, and burns. She brings her love to Gold Star families, is an honorary Sheriff’s Deputy for her years of work with first responders, and even helped teach a class at Columbia Medical School in NYC.

Working indoors would be a challenge for any horse but with her years of experience, she makes it look easy, even in high rise hospital buildings. Magic walks up and down steps, rides in elevators, walks on unusual floor surfaces, carefully moves around hospital and television studio equipment, works in small patient rooms, and stays calm around unexpected sounds like ambulances, alarms, and hospital helicopters… and yes, she is house trained.

Magic also works inside schools and libraries, with mentoring programs, at literacy events, and at education resource centers in high crime neighborhoods. Her award winning literacy program Reading Is Magic “brings books to life” for young readers with a special focus on at risk readers.

Some video of Magic at work:

http://www.today.com/video/miniature-horse-makes-dying-womans-wish-come-true-573356611506

http://www.clickorlando.com/news/pulse-orlando-shooting/therapy-horses-provide-healing-to-medical-examiners-office#

http://www.click2houston.com/news/horse-named-magic-aims-to-lift-spirits-for-trauma-patients

Over the past ten years Magic received awards and honors including:

One of History’s 10 Most Courageous Animals – TIME Magazine
Selected to be a Breyer Portrait Model Horse.
Most Heroic Pet In America – AARP
A Reader’s Digest/Americantowns Power of One Hero
One of the 10 Most Heroic Animals of 2010 – Newsweek/The Daily Beast
2014 E. T. York Distinguished Service Award
One of Seven Most Notable Animal Heroes in the World – The Daily Mirror 2014
Featured in 125 Stories of Amazing Pets: Inspiring Tales of Animal Friendship and Four-legged Heroes by National Geographic – 2014
Autism Paws of Honor Award
Pet Hero of the Year 2016/Florida Veterinary Medical Association Hall of Fame
American Red Cross A Hero Among Us Outstanding Service Award – 2016
Featured in The Book of Heroes by National Geographic – 2017
Ronald McDonald House Caring and Sharing Award – 2017
United States Equestrian Federation/Equus Foundation Horse Stars Hall of Fame

Therapy horse Magic is a member of Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses, an award winning, all volunteer 501(c)(3) charity celebrating 20 years of service.  The teams of therapy horses bring love to over 25,000 adults and children each year inside hospitals, hospice programs, and with families who have experienced traumatic events.

We are looking forward to the next ten years with this amazing little horse.

Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses
www.gentlecarouseltherapyhorses.com
www.facebook.com/TherapyHorses
352-226-9009

Real-Life Horse in Line at Charity Movie Screening Fills More UNBRIDLED Seats Than All Other Films Combined

Mt. Pleasant, Michigan (May 6, 2018) — A real life horse named Blaze upstaged the charity film screening of UNBRIDLED at Celebration Cinema in Mt. Pleasant, MI on April 25, one day before National Help a Horse Day (April 26) during the special 7:00 pm Eastern Time charity movie screening.

Moviegoers were intrigued and amused as they walked up to the ticket box office only to brush up against Blaze, who was also waiting in line to see the movie based on real-life stories of horse centers, including benefactor HopeWell Ranch of Weidman and Remnant Fields of Midland, MI, that pair abused women with rescued horses, resulting in mutual healing.

The screening was preceded by remarks by HopeWell Ranch director Jodi Stuber to the overflow crowd in the packed auditorium that drew more patrons than all other films combined. Ms. Stuber talked about HopeWell Heroes including horses and human volunteers.

UNBRIDLED, set for nationwide release this summer, stars Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight), T. C. Stallings (War Room), Rachel Hendrix (October Baby), Jenn Gotzon (Frost/Nixon), and introduces sex-trafficked teen Sarah, played by Tea McKay, whose “journey of healing evokes tears that transcends into heartfelt joy,” says the film’s producer Christy McGlothlin.  UNBRIDLED Trailer

Unbridled Executive Producer Troy Buder also produced Queen of Katwe with Lupita Nyong’o. Producer Christy McGlothlin & HopeWell Ranch Director Jodi Stuber.

UNBRIDLED MOVIE PRODUCER CHRISTY MCGLOTHLIN has nine children, including a special needs child, yet still finds time to make movies and host her online TV Talk show, Mommy Talk Live! Her first film, A LONG WAY OFF (Robert Davi, Jason Burkey), was a modern re-telling of the Prodigal Son story.

Her latest movie, UNBRIDLED, has won numerous film festival awards including the prestigious EQUUS WINNIE Award. Christy lives in Raleigh, NC with her husband Jerry and their children.

For NBC Television coverage of Unbridled Director John Ware, go to:
https://www.facebook.com/jdware2/videos/10214908146519624/

CONTACT: To schedule an interview, contact co-Executive Producer Gerald McGlothlin at 919-437-0001 or email jerry@specialguests.com or HopeWell Ranch Directory Jodi Stuber at 989-289-0465 info@hopewellranch.org.

Press Link, Diana De Rosa, 516-848-4867, dderosa1@optonline.net

Horses and Mesothelioma: Understanding Naturopathy’s Benefits

From immunotherapy to yoga classes, there are a host of different treatment options for patients dealing with mesothelioma. As science continues to make strides toward better prognoses, patients have choices to make when it comes to their well-being. A unique pathway involves the use of horses. These gentle giants are showing promise for cancer patients where other treatments are failing. Get to know how the equine can help patients through recovery and beyond.

Being Part of the World

Emerging treatments are almost always being tested and approved, but they normally come in the form of a drug. Patients don’t want to be part of an experiment. They simply want to feel like they’re still part of this world and community. By working with a horse several times a week, patients feel a sense of purpose. They might be in charge of walking the animals around so that they can stretch out before a workout. The horse responds to the person with simple gestures, which is all that’s necessary to lift a patient’s spirits and take the mind away from any worries.

Gaining Flexibility

A fascinating aspect to working with horses is the flexibility value. During a visit, patients brush the animal’s mane and other key areas. These repetitive and relaxing motions actually build muscle without the patients knowing it. Their alternative therapies consist of exercise that builds the upper body. As time goes by, the patients feel stronger with extra energy at the end of the session. Fighting off fatigue is one of the hardest parts of mesothelioma treatment. Gaining energy by doing something good for a unique animal is both physically and mentally appealing.

Mental Wellness

For many patients, dealing with a cancer diagnosis is mentally debilitating. Loved ones may support the person, but remaining positive during months and years of treatment can be difficult. Working with a horse changes that situation. The patient looks forward to the encounter with a huge smile on his or her face. Happiness alone has been proven to help patients with increased stress levels, which may lead to complications if worries overwhelm the person. Laughing, smiling and talking to the animal are all good therapies to help the cancer survivor thrive.

Alternative Support

Dealing with a cancer diagnosis is frightening and isolating. Although patients may have a strong support system at home, those loved ones cannot understand every aspect of the struggle. As an alternative support system, patients depend on the relationship that they forge with these gentle giants. A horse has incredibly deep eyes that seem to penetrate a person’s ego. The calmness within the animal makes this patient experience a unique one. Because the animal is calm with a sense of stability in the world, patients feel the same energy as they brush, stroke or walk it around a stable or pen.

Mesothelioma treatment might include other naturopathic elements, such as strategic tea drinking and exercise. Ideally, a combination of different treatments is necessary to successfully fight off cancer. With a little help from the horses, patients can feel better than ever before.