Thursday, 28 May 2020 15:03

A Day in the Life of a Therapy Horse

Photo provided. Photo provided.

Hellomy name is Reeley Misbehaving, and I am a therapy horse at Therapeutic Horses of Saratoga (THS).

I was adopted here in the summer of 2019 and am loving my new life so far. I get to live outside in the paddock with my friends and enjoy fresh air and yummy hay all day long. My favorite pastime is rolling in the mud and getting really dirty. This is easy to do because I am a white horse, and everything shows up on me.

Every day after breakfast, my caretaker and trainer, Laura, comes out to the paddock to bring me to our training session. She takes me to the round pen where we “join up,” which means that she asks me to move around her in a circle and connect to her through our movements. I enjoy this process because it means that Laura wants to get close to me and build trust. Then we begin my favorite part of training – prop desensitization. Laura shows me a series of objects that I experience daily as a therapy horse like trotting poles, tarps, pool noodles, and hula hoops. I pass with flying colors over these obstacles because I trust Laura and she would not do anything to endanger me. But still, I am a horse, so I must investigate everything to make sure it is not a threat. The pool noodle was the easiest. Once I realized that all I had to do was let her rub me with it and walk over it, it was a piece of cake. After every session Laura gives me a good grooming, which is by far the best portion of training.

My favorite part about being a therapy horse is spending time with my clients. I am a very social horse and I enjoy getting neck scratches and playing fun games with my human friends. I sense what my humans are feeling and can give them whatever they need, whether it’s a challenge or a nice long cuddle.

At the end of the day, us horses enjoy a delicious dinner and settle into our evening routine of hay-eating and naps. We have the best job, don’t you think?

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