Photo credit - West Orange Observer
After sharing an apple with me and trying to sneak a bite of Marnie's lunch Rommy was ready to provide more healing through smiles Saturday afternoon. With a spurt of energy Rommy trotted from the truck to his next destination, at Brookdale Lake Port Square.
Rommy stood quietly, ok he slept, while I shared our story in front of a group of wonderfully curious grandmas and grandpas. They loved the part about how Rommy wouldn't leave my house the first time I brought him inside! I guess the carrots in the fridge, the air conditioning, and the animal shows on tv were too enticing for Rommy.
Rommy was so sleepy i had to wake him up at the end of the presentation. It brought laughter to the group, but I'm thinking he may have been bored by my spiel! Rommy "worked" the room by stopping near each person to allow them to pet him. He didn't mind since it was his spa day, right?
Rommy enjoyed his new friends, but had to move on to meet more new friends in another building. After stopping for a potty break Rommy entered the new building ready to visit. I mention the potty break because it's key to something that happened later on.
In the room where Rommy was to visit loving grandmas and grandpas there was lovely, live piano music playing. They asked the gentleman to stop playing for Rommy's sake. I told them he liked music and he could continue. For Rommy's sake I made a request for jazz in which the pianist played beautifully.
Rommy was enjoyed by all and Rommy enjoyed all. He was photographed, petted, touched and hugged. He seemed to be thoroughly enjoying himself.
When the music stopped, people clapped. Rommy does get a bit nervous with clapping, but doesn't overreact. He leaned into me and fidgeted just a bit. I leaned down and quietly talked to him telling him it was ok. He seemed to settle down.
As the next song appeared to be ending Rommy was a bit more fidgety. I attributed it to the clapping so I brought him away from everyone and quietly consoled him. He settled down.
In training horses you should always end on a good note (pun not intended) so I brought him over to the last person in the room who hadn't had a chance to meet
July 1, 2017
It was a whirlwind of a week! From Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children to Read to Sydney to Florida Hospital For Children to Mayflower Retirement Community Rommy was very very busy. Rommy brought so many smiles.
It was ice cream day in Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children when Rommy arrived. Rommy was determined to find his own taste of ice cream! He sniffed hands and wheelchairs searching and searching. Rommy not only brought smiles he brought giggles and twinkling eyes that day.
Later in the evening Rommy stopped by to wish all his friends at Read to Sydney congratulations on their new grand reopening. He even got a photo with his favorite reporter at West Orange Times & Observer!
Rommy marched with purpose as we entered Florida Hospital For Children on Saturday afternoon. He practically trotted to get inside! His mission that day was to rest his muzzle on as many softly blanketed beds as possible and to enjoy the snuggles from little hands.
Towards the end of our visit Rommy signaled to me that he needed to go outside. So down in the elevator we went, strode through the hallway and headed for a grassy spot outside. As soon as Rommy finished going to the bathroom he immediately turned back toward the hospital and proceeded to march onward. Rommy wanted to go back inside! I guess I forgot to tell him at that point we had grandmas and grandpas waiting for us in Winter Park.
July 22, 2017
It was a big day for Rascal on Saturday. I asked a lot of him and he willingly visited two nursing homes in one day! In the morning Rascal headed to Hunters Creek Nursing And Rehab Center. It was our first time there and Rascal was eager to get inside and meet people. As he strutted towards the building I realized how much he enjoys exploring new places.
Once inside, Rascal was adored from near and far. The majority of residents wanted to pet him while others enjoyed his adorableness from across the rooms. Rascal stood still for pats longer than he had on other visits. I am proud of him for that!
When Rascal asked me for a potty break we were followed outside by a few staff members. Rascal did his business and turned to notice surprised faces. Many people haven't heard of miniature therapy horses let alone that they can be "potty" trained!
After a quick photo shoot Rascal went back inside to visit residents in another wing. He ended his visit by showing off his rearing trick over and over. He really likes treats so he does the trick without asking when he knows there are treats around.
In the afternoon, Rascal visited Ocoee Health Care Center for his second time. Rascal was a big boy for not even hesitating before he walked on the carpet of many colors. I happened to set the alarm off (yay me) by trying to open the front door. Rascal listened, stood his ground and then gave me a look as to why did I have to make that sound happen. He wasn't scared at all.
Everyone met Rascal in the hallway initially. He stopped at each resident's chair to visit. I think he's getting the hang of being a good therapy horse.
Rascal once again showed off his rearing trick to oohs and aaahs. This trick wasn't taught to Rascal, he made it up on his own. Being the smallest horse of his herd he couldn't reach the treats the other horses could when I gave them to them in a group. So the best thing he could do was to jump up to get to those delicious treats.
After a quick break outside, Rascal was able to visit a few grandmas and grandpas in their rooms. They were delighted to see him! Rascal was brave to fit into tight spaces...around tray tables, beds, and beeping medical equipment. This tiny, little miniature horse is on his way to becoming a great therapy horse!
On the way home we were caught in a traffic jam. Those Sandhill Cranes didn't even bother Rascal!
Good boy, Rascal!
P.S. Rommy would have visited one of the nursing homes, but he scratched his face giving himself a cut so he couldn't go. Rascal took a long nap after both visits!
July 12, 2017
July 15, 2017
Extra! Extra! Read all about it!
In the afternoon it was time for Rascal to grab his swim gear and head to Inspired Living Ocoee. Although he tried to convince the staff there he would like to jump in the pool he was just as happy socializing in the living room. The residents thought his outfit was adorable!
Rascal snuggled, wiggled and showed off his rearing trick. His charm and good humor were spreading.
Residents laughed and clapped at his two year old antics. They thoroughly enjoyed watching a youngster in their midst.
Rascal really seemed to enjoy showing off for everyone. He even left some of his own twinkle in the eyes of the residents.
Good boy, Rascal!
him. Rommy stood quietly while she petted his face. I was relieved to see he was over his uneasiness.
We walked down the hallway to head home at that point. When we were stopped at the nurses station for a request to meet one more person Rommy showed me why he was antsy. He couldn't hold on any longer and proceeded to go in his potty bag. Even though the bag failed a bit and I cleaned it up thoroughly I was horrified at myself for not clearly recognizing Rommy's signals earlier.
I love telling you our stories of how wonderful it is to meet so many people who love our horses, but I also tell all our stories to help others training their horses too. I made a mistake thinking Rommy was nervous about the clapping when he was really telling me he had to go outside. I have learned tremendously from my mistake and will be better prepared to leave an area immediately for every signal he gives me.
When we arrived home later on after a stop at a roadside stand for peaches and a shopping visit to Tractor Supply Co. Rommy was ready to relax. He immediately rolled just steps away from the truck. It's his way of unwinding after a long day.
To teach me, Rommy pawed and grabbed at an empty bucket clearly showing me he wanted water. I think he believes he has to exaggerate his signals with me now!
Good boy Rommy
July 29, 2017
July 8, 2017
Rommy, being the lady's man that he is, lived up to his reputation as soon as he stepped hoof on Mayflower Retirement Community's property. He wasn't even inside the building when he had people's attention. Once he reached the second floor though all bets were off. There were so many women for Rommy to charm. I tagged along while Rommy did his magic of producing smiles on even the saddest of faces.
When it was time to go home I had to tug on Rommy's lead rope to get him to leave. Rommy truly enjoys his time with people and loves helping to heal.
Good boy, Rommy
Rascal, the trained therapy horse, was quite antsy. He wasn't scared, he just wanted to play and run around with the children who were already doing so. It was a good training session for both baby horses.
Rascal and Savannah stopped all sales as they walked through the market. Not just because customers were focused on them, but vendors were also leaving their tables to come greet them. Don't worry Winter Garden Farmers Market, it was a brief stoppage!
The babies were so calm walking through the market. Imagine walking on the sidewalk of a street in a big city...that's how many people were there. I'm so proud of Savannah and Rascal! They did enjoy themselves immensely because the hands of children had smells of treats sold at the market.
After another elevator ride and a quick stop to drink water at the truck Rascal and Savannah wandered over to Tack Boutique to do a bit of shopping and to hang out with friend, Nora.
The babies soon became tired, it was a long adventurous few hours! One more elevator ride and Rascal was beginning to get the hang of it. Savannah actually didn't take as much time getting back into the truck. Overall, a successful shopping/training trip! It was nap time though.
Good baby horses, Savannah and Rascal!
July 8, 2017
July 9, 2017
What do you do on a Saturday when all of a sudden there are no visits scheduled? Rascal and Savannah decided to go to the Winter Garden Farmers Market, of course! Boy, were people happily surprised!
Savannah was still hesitant about getting in the truck. She did it in her own time though and eventually climbed in to receive her cookies.
As soon as we arrived, parked in the parking garage, and unloaded the minis were surrounded by people. It's not every day you see 29" tall horses inside a parking garage.
Even though Savannah is cautious about getting in the truck she walked into the elevator as if she had done it every day of her life. It was the first time we've brought her into one.
Rascal is a pro truck rider and even shows off by trying to trot into the truck. The elevator, on the other hand, is quite scary and is separated by a vast dark abyss which should be avoided at all costs. He eventually ventured inside and was rewarded with cookies.
When we reached the first floor, the door opened to more amazed people. Savannah and Rascal stopped to greet the new people on the first floor.
As soon as we walked out of the garage there was a swarm...of people, not bees. I was a bit concerned at first because I wasn't sure how Savannah would react. It was the first time I had brought her into an open area of crowds. She stood quietly while people petted her from all sides. I was amazed.
Hold on to your hats! Rommy did when he went to Academy for Kids very early in the morning. He had so much fun playing with the children! He even helped them by holding his own straw hat in his mouth while they piled dress up clothes on him.
There is something magical about experiencing the world through the eyes of a child. Watching the children react to seeing a small horse inside their school was amazing. Some squirmed in their seats to get a chance to touch Rommy while others stood quietly a few feet from him and observed the scene. By the end Rommy was petted by every child.
As I sorted through the photos to share with you I realized how in awe I am of Rommy. Notice how he is reacting in each photo. In the rooms where the tiniest of children were he lowered his head and didn't move. In the rooms where the children could dress him up he reacted differently too. In some rooms he played with the
Rommy's weekend began with a little road trip. He munched hay while sightseeing out the backseat window of the F-150 for the hour long drive to The Villages. He was eager to find out where he was going because he knew he was going to visit grandmas and grandpas.
When he arrived at HarborChase of Villages Crossing Rommy scanned the vast green fields nearby. After tasting the lush grass he put on his shoes and was ready to get inside. Rommy lead us right into the lobby where faces of surprise greeted him. Rommy's first stop was to visit a group of Pokeno players. These are serious players and Rommy brought the game to a halt when he entered the room. The players didn't mind because Rommy was his most charming self and greeted each reaching hand with a nuzzle. Once Rommy achieved his goal of a roomful of smiles he entered the elevator again without hesitation.
On the first floor Rommy encountered a roomful of adoring fans. There were exclamations of "it's a horse!" Rommy settled in to receive his pats and snuggles. He fell asleep at each person's chair he stood by. There was one woman who absolutely did not want Rommy to leave and neither did Rommy. They held their faces close to each other and whispered secrets.
When it was time to go Rommy reluctantly followed me out the door. Rommy was happy though when we were stopped in the lobby. It delayed his departure and he received more pats and he gave more smiles.
Rommy quickly climbed into the truck though knowing of a promise of more people to visit in the afternoon.
Good boy, Rommy
children by nuzzling tummies and snatching dress up clothes from them. In others he stood still so little hands could reach up and put a hat on his head.
Some children were initially afraid of Rommy and there were even some tears when we walked into the room. Those tears didn't last long at all. Rommy gets very concerned when a child is upset and wants to go to them to comfort them. I didn't allow Rommy to go near those children on purpose. Once all the other children in the room were petting Rommy the crying child realized Rommy wasn't scary at all and wandered over to explore him.
Rommy really enjoyed his visit! You'll see in the eyes of the children in the photos that they enjoyed discovering the happiness a miniature therapy horse brings too. Rommy was even blown kisses by the children when it was time to go.
Good boy, Rommy!
Rommy loved to help his friends Read to Sydney celebrate their grand reopening! Have a child learning to read? Is your child struggling through sentences? How cool is it that they can learn to read by reading to someone who doesn't judge them for a stumble through those words? Go visit Read to Sydney at West Oaks Mall (near JCPenny) in Ocoee, FL where your child can gain confidence in reading with the help of warm, soft therapy dogs! #nonprofitsunite
July 18, 2017
Sunday was a big day for the littlest members of Fuzzy Therapy Miniature Horses, Inc.! Rascal and Savannah went shopping at Tractor Supply Co.. It was a big experience since they've never been inside such a large store.
Savannah leaned into my leg as we wandered around the store. She was very curious, but wanted to make sure I was still with her at all times. She gave kisses to a little girl and tried to give kisses to a dog, but the dog was scared of her!
There was so much to see in the store Rascal was amazed. Usually he marches through any building he's allowed in, but at Tractor Supply he was so fascinated with every object for sale he stood his ground. I could tell he was having a fun time just by the way he stood looking around. Of course, it also smelled of horse treats in the store so I think he was trying to identify where they were.
Rascal did some training of his own. He taught Marnie his signal to go outside to go potty. He became a little antsy and lead her towards the door.
When Rascal left, Savannah became nervous. She whinnied and searched for him. I held her close to me, patted her, and quietly talked to her to help her become less scared. When she quieted down I took her outside so she could see Rascal. It was her reward for remaining calm when he was gone.
Back inside! It was time to check out the shopping carts. Rascal tried to bite the tires just like he does on the wheelbarrow at home. This was such a fun game for him. Savannah sniffed the tires in confusion. Why does Rascal like them so much?
Next training was to walk around the store and separate the horses from each other by going down different aisles. Savannah was nervous at first, but relaxed once she realized she would see Rascal at the next aisle. All fear subsided though when Savannah discovered a bag of the grain they eat. Breakfast and dinner were all there! Breakfast is the best meal of the day besides dinner by the way!
The baby horses were great when we waited in line to pay for the bag of grain Savannah convinced me to buy. I think the other people in line suddenly didn't mind the wait either.
Good baby horses Savannah and Rascal
Rascal was loved by all on Saturday. The always twinkling eyes and prancing hooves makes Rascal an irresistible target of hugging and petting. He charmed his way around both Health Central Park Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center and Inspired Living Ocoee.
Rascal pulled on his water wings and tossed his inner tube over his head before strutting into Health Central Park. He was on a mission to bring as many smiles as he could. It isn't a difficult task for Rascal to help cheer up someone's day for he is a tiny, little horse filled with life.
Rascal loves to explore and see new things. His last experience with the yellow curb didn't phase him this visit. He pranced right onto that curb and was ready to waltz inside.
Although Rascal has to work on his stay still for longer task he was able to enjoy the hands that patted him. He even received scratches on his forehead, one of his favorite spots!