When a real horse walks into the hospital room or bedroom of a sick child it is always magical experience but during the holidays it is even more special. Therapy horses Peanut and Cloudburst dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus are visiting children inside hospitals and in hospice care from now until Christmas. They will be joined by other tiny therapy horses (only 19 – 24 inches tall) dressed as elves, reindeer and nutcracker horses. Each horse has an iPod so holiday music follows them from room to room.
Known as “The Santa Ponies”, they will also work with sheriff’s officers reaching out to children in a high crime neighborhoods, visit children spending the holidays in homeless shelters, help with a food drive in a shopping mall and perform on stage at a concert to benefit children with cancer. The horses even have their own full size sleigh on wheels that can go indoors for photos of families. When the horses visit a child, a photographer gives the family photos of the visit and a stuffed toy horse that looks like the real one is left behind on the child’s bed.
The Santa Ponies are members of Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses, an all volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity. The team of 26 therapy horses visit over 10,000 adults and children each year. Visit www.Horse-Therapy.org .