Our Minis very first "therapeutic" visit! (pics) - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 33 Old 08-09-2011, 06:10 PM Thread Starter
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Talking Our Minis very first "therapeutic" visit! (pics)

I am so excited, just had to share!
My husband and I took three of our minis to their very first nursing home visit last week, and they made us SO PROUD.
They acted as if they knew exactly why they were there and how they needed to behave.
So many of the residents are from ranch/farming backgrounds, they just lit up when they saw the horses! One gentleman started whinnying at he minis as we walked into the courtyard he was so excited.
It really warms my heart to be able to share some thing special with them. I just know that if I were to ever be in their place, I would absolutely be in heaven if some one brought me a horse to visit with.
We now plan on making as many visits yet this summer/fall as we can fit in, to different facilities in and around our area.

My next goal is to be able to make indoor visits to those who are bedridden.
So I am now concentrating on stairs, and elevator training, as well as getting them use to confined spaces so that they do not bump into any medical equipment, I.V's, etc. while in rooms.
My hubby even found "tennis shoes" for them to wear so that they do not slip on different floor surfaces.





Thanks for sharing my "proud mom" moment!

Golden Horse and jfisher256 like this.

Wee Whinnies Therapeutic Minis
Miniature Equine Assisted Therapy

Last edited by SpiritedLittleCopperSpots; 08-09-2011 at 06:13 PM.
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post #2 of 33 Old 08-09-2011, 06:14 PM
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Wow that is wonderful! I did a nursing home visit one time with my Haflinger mare. It's amazing how well she behaved! I think they really do know they are supposed to be gentler.

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post #3 of 33 Old 08-09-2011, 06:21 PM
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That is so wonderful, you've got me crying now. I'm sure that was quite a treat for those folks. You are doing an amazing thing .

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
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post #4 of 33 Old 08-09-2011, 06:22 PM
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Aww, you're a great person for doing that. I bet they were very happy!
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post #5 of 33 Old 08-09-2011, 06:44 PM
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That is so wonderful!! I'm all teary now, what kind of stuff did you do to prepare them?
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post #6 of 33 Old 08-09-2011, 06:58 PM Thread Starter
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Red face

ShutUpJoe, wow with your Haflinger, I bet she was a real treat for the residents, they are so gorgeous! (one of my friends has a couple, and I can never keep my fingers out of their manes) They also seem to have a gentle, calm demeanor.

I really agree with you that they do "know". In the second photo I posted you can see a gentleman who has very limited mobility, Todd is standing in front of him with Sammy. Well, both Domino and Sammy, seemed to realize that he could not reach out to touch them even with their heads in his lap. When each of them were visiting with him, at separate times, they nuzzled his hairy knees, and his face just glowed and he giggled and giggled....
And yes, when my hubby and I shared that with each other on the way home, we did tear up.
It amazes me how one minute some one can appear completely disconnected from their world, but some small contact with an animal brings them back and gives them so much joy.
That is why we do this, absolutely.
(I'm getting all goose-bumpy just thinking about it again...)

Smrobs and Equiniphile, thank you for saying that. We do it for the residents, but I have to admit that we get so much out of it as well. Like my hubby said, he's not sure who really enjoys it more, them, us or the minis?

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Wee Whinnies Therapeutic Minis
Miniature Equine Assisted Therapy

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post #7 of 33 Old 08-09-2011, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by zurmdahl View Post
That is so wonderful!! I'm all teary now, what kind of stuff did you do to prepare them?

Thank you.
Hmmm, what do I do to prepare them... Well the most basic stuff really. I make sure that all my minis have excellent ground manners and patience, like standing quietly for the farrier, body clipping, etc.
They all get exposed to as many situations as possible, like parades and things. I train them all to drive as well, not saying that helps with the visits directly, but just that they are worked with a lot and are trained well.

Fortunately all six of mine seem to be very personable and affectionate.
I think that is the best trait a therapy animal can have, you do not want them to be spooky, pushy, or even dis-interested in other people.

The only extra stuff I really worked with them on was getting them use to approaching me while seated, offering their heads up in my lap. That really helped for those in wheel chairs and with partial paralysis.

The bedside training will take a little more time, just getting them to where I can trust them to be around medical equipment and all that, like I mentioned before. That they can stand in a narrow space, and back out easily as apposed to trying to turn around.
They are all ready doing stairs well, but a lot of facilities are all one level anyway, so might not have to worry about that. Hospitals have elevators, so we should be fine there.

I think my one big concern is the dreaded "potty break".
I am going to get in contact with others who make indoor visits and talk with them about the best solution, whether it is a diaper type attachment similar to what some use on driving horses, or what options there are out there.

Wee Whinnies Therapeutic Minis
Miniature Equine Assisted Therapy

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post #8 of 33 Old 08-09-2011, 07:38 PM
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oh i think this made my day, its truly special what you and your hubby are doing!

the hardest part of riding is the ground... yup sounds about right
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post #9 of 33 Old 08-09-2011, 07:44 PM
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OP- have you thought of using adult diapers? =] our therapeudic facility often brings the minis out to local nursing homes, and we have found that x-large even fits our 37" shetland!

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be in your journey, but not all of
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post #10 of 33 Old 08-10-2011, 10:02 AM
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Great pictures! I have a friend that has a nursing home group come out every spring to visit the minis. They have a great time!

Im not a fan of putting diapers on horses. You can control potty breaks by making sure you feed them hours in advance of the visit.
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