May 10, 2017
May 13, 2017
My Mom has always called conquering something new or conquering a challenge a "learning experience." Rascal had a learning experience yesterday while visiting Ocoee Health Care Center. Since it was my first visit too I didn't know my way around or what new obstacles would be there for Rascal.
Rascal's first lesson was the carpet. It had a bright floral pattern (in the pictures) which Rascal had never seen before. He was fascinated with it, but at the same time a bit nervous about walking amongst all those flowers. Once he saw that I was standing on it he realized it was ok. He walked with his body touching my leg for the first few minutes until he was comfortable that the flowers wouldn't eat him.
Rascal has experienced tile floors, wood floors, carpeted floors, yellow curbs, asphalt, cement, etc., but he wasn't sure about the shiny floors in some of the resident's rooms. At first I convinced him that it was ok to walk on them by standing on them and holding a cookie out to him. That worked. After a while he walked in the next
Welcome to Derby Day!
Tack Boutique presents Fuzzy Therapy Miniature Horses, Inc., a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which provides animal assisted therapy and animal assisted activities to those in need in nursing homes, hospitals and families living with disabilities. Derby Day is a fun, family event to raise funds to support Fuzzy Therapy Miniature Horses, Inc. mission of bringing smiles to everyone from little horses with big hearts. The goal is to raise money to purchase a horse trailer so more horses can visit those in need each time.
We caught the beautiful weather before the rain yesterday. There were so many beautiful moments at Nathaniel's Hope Buddy Break too. Rommy was so happy to take part in being the media for finger painting. Rommy loves fingers and paint just makes the massage he receives even better.
Rommy stood absolutely still while children covered his body with paint. He knew when children were standing right next to his hooves, had wandered behind him, and even sat down next to him. Rommy behaves differently around children whose needs are more special. He understands he needs to be calm around them to encourage them to interact with him.
Rommy allows these children to touch him everywhere without any reaction from him. I can go on and on at how amazing this little horse is because he was pure love yesterday. He loves children, but he has a place in his heart where he adores children with special needs.
Giggles happened when the bubbles were brought out. Rommy even played with the bubbles too which brought even more giggles. Even horses like bubbles!
This visit will remain in my heart forever as the pure joy, exploration, and smiles Rommy brought made it one we didn't want to leave.
Amazing boy, Rommy!
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rooms with no problem. Then he thought about it. He manipulated me into giving him a cookie for the next few rooms. Then forgot about it and marched right in. I was laughing throughout the process because it was so obvious to see what his little brain was thinking.
Rascal was such a good boy as we quickly went from room to room to have short visits with each resident. He heard beeping machines, but they didn't bother him. He was asked to fit into tight spaces so residents could reach down to pet him. He was asked to stand still for photos.
A lot was asked of Rascal yesterday, but he gave so much. He was so tired when we arrived home he didn't want to leave the truck! After some time of letting him be a horse in the pasture I went out to check on him. The extensive photos of his face and nose show that he was happy for my visit and he still loved me. I wasn't allowed to take any photos beyond two inches from him because he wanted to be close to me.
Good boy, Rascal!
May 27, 2017
May 20, 2017
It was a busy Saturday for Rommy and Rascal. This time Rommy was able to see all his long time friends at Health Central Park in the morning while Rascal socialized with new friends at Inspired Living Ocoee in the afternoon.
Both horses sported their patriotic look to show their support of those lost on Memorial Day. Although Rommy wore his hat the whole time during his visit Rascal decided he did not want to. Rascal was more interested in exploring the new place he was at and thought the hat was blocking his view.
Rascal met a young boy who had just as much energy as he does. When the boy ran around Rascal lifted his head and watched him in envy. I think Rascal wanted to run around the living area with the boy! The residents watched the activity with smiles in their eyes. I think they wanted to run around with the boy and Rascal too.
Rommy met Bo. Bo is a 15 year old dog who was visiting his family at Health Central Park. Rommy was a good boy while Bo sniffed his nose, but became uncomfortable when Bo got too close. I will have to help Rommy remember that not all dogs will hurt him like in his past life.
Rommy's friend who likes to hum was able to see Rommy again. Rommy loves this man. He stands very, very still and closes his eyes when the man is singing. Who's providing therapy for whom? It's a mutual moment of happiness and is beautiful to see.
Although Rascal was wiggly on Saturday everyone enjoyed the tiny horse. He brought smiles and giggles to all who saw him. He really does like being the center of attention, but he just has to remember to stand still long enough for people to give him his pats and scratches.
Good boys, Rommy and Rascal!
she exclaimed that she worked there. So Rommy got to visit one more loving, staff member before heading home to roll in the pasture. Rommy brings smiles everywhere he goes!
Good boy Rommy!
Three visits in one day! The boys, Rommy and Rascal, were so good I need not say any more, but you know I will.
Rascal's third official visit was to Spring Hills At Hunters Creek. He was uncertain of the asphalt at the end of the ramp from his view inside the truck. He took his time leaving the truck, but realized there was grass near the asphalt so he was instantly happy.
Rascal only hesitated briefly before boldly stepping on the carpet with a pattern he hadn't seen. He strutted right up to a grandma sitting in a wheelchair and snuggled her hand. At his ripe old age of two Rascal's attention span doesn't last too long so once he realized the lady wasn't going to give him a treat he wanted to wander over to the next person. Rascal enjoyed pats, kisses, snuggles, the taste of newspaper, and the cold metallic feel of wheelchairs in his mouth. It was a busy morning for little Rascal!
At one point Rascal became very wiggly so we decided to take him on a break. Rascal immediately walked over to the grass and relieved himself. I'm so proud! Although he's "potty" trained he has never been so clear on his signals that he has to go.
After a nap in the truck on the way home Rascal was happy to see his sister, Savannah, again. She whinnied in delight and he returned her call with a quick nicker to let her know he was home. They cantered off into the pasture together.
A quick lunch and a thorough grooming, Rommy was ready to go. Marnie was Rommy's handler for our next visit to Florida Hospital For Children. Rommy met wonderful children and families in the Disney Atrium for the first half hour. He snoozed and snuggled as he usually does. One boy even shared his knitted hat with Rommy!
Rommy has been practicing his elevator rides off and on in the parking garage in Winter Garden as most of you may already know. On Saturday, Rommy actually had the wonderful opportunity to officially ride in the one at Florida Hospital For Children! I have been waiting for this moment for a long time because I know there are children Rommy needs to cheer up that just can't be in the lobby. It felt like I was the one receiving this gift and it wasn't even my birthday!
Of course, I was a little concerned that Rommy would decide all of a sudden that he didn't like elevators and would refuse to walk in. Nope! Rommy walked right in as if he'd been doing it all his life. I'm not sure if you know this, but Rommy knows that elevators bring cookies.
The sky was its bluest, the sun shined and the temperature was in the 70s. We couldn't have asked for a more perfect day to hold Derby Day.
Once all the horses were in the trailer, we were on our way to a fun-filled, people filled day. As soon as people saw the minis walking down the sidewalk they walked towards them. Rommy and Rascal knew what to do. I was concerned with what Savannah may or may not do since I've only known her for a month.
Savannah was the super star of Derby Day. She posed for pictures, snuggled children, and nuzzled babies' toes. She even tried to snuggle the hobby horses! I thought she would need a lot of breaks, but she was happy to be inside where all the people and her brother were.
Rascal was a good boy once he settled down. All the excitement going on around him got him excited too. Not in a bad way, he acted like a small child going to the fair! He was so happy to be in the middle of it. Hannah had a handful with handling Rascal, but she's a horse person so she knew what to do.
And, of course, once inside Tack Boutique, Rommy fell asleep. As soon as a human hand touches Rommy he dozes. He didn't care that people bumped into him to get through the crowd. He wasn't phased by all the activity around him. He knew it was nap time for Rommy. Lisa did a great job with Rommy and identified his signals immediately when he gave them.
Everyone who volunteered did a great job at Derby Day! Debbi, Marnie, Bonnie, Lisa, Paula, Catherine, Kathy, Mallory, Hannah, Nora, Nick, and Josh! Thank you for making the day wonderful!
Good boys, Rommy and Rascal!
Good baby girl, Savannah!
May 6, 2017
May 6, 2017
Rommy was happy to be back cheering up children at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. When we stopped to greet people in the hallway prior to entering the atrium Rommy pulled at the lead rope as if to say that he needed to get to his spot so he could visit. We met a little boy in the hallway though which Rommy was happy about. I asked the little boy after he became brave enough to pet Rommy if he liked Rommy. He shook his head no! So I quickly asked if he loved Rommy and he nodded and said that yes he did love Rommy.
I've learned that when children are timid about petting Rommy I can compare his fur to that of a teddy bear and they reach out to see if I'm right. Other nervous children won't touch Rommy until people stop asking them to. Most children eventually touch Rommy because the existence of a small, fluffy horse is just too irresistible.
It was an exciting moment when Rommy met a boy who had shoes the same color as his! The boy smiled when I showed him and seemed to have a proud look on his face.
Rommy loves everyone and really enjoyed the doting he received from the staff at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. Not only that, Rommy was honored to help a camera man from CNN. We told him if he posed for a picture with Rommy he would definitely become famous. Not sure if he was comfortable being on the opposite side of a camera, but he was a good sport.
On our way home we had to stop at Winter Garden Feed Co. for some horse cookies and shavings for the horses' stalls. One customer asked me if we take Rommy to visit in hospitals. I told her we were on our way home from Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and
May 13, 2017
Rommy chomped his cookies as we rode up to the six floor.
Rommy walked down the hall to a young boy's room. This boy wasn't able to come down to the lobby the day we were there so it was so special that Rommy could see him. Being in the hospital as a child can be a scary, lonely place at times and it makes it so much better when people come to visit. Imagine when a little horse visits!
On our way out Rommy stepped into the elevator again with no problem. We had to leave on time because we had another visit to get to. Rommy needed to go visit grandmas and grandpas at Island Lake Center.
Everyone was so surprised to see a miniature therapy horse in the building! I'm guessing there hadn't been any visits by a horse before. Rommy visited with each resident as if they had been his best friends for life. He also snuggled many blankets in the process.
Guess what? There was an elevator! Guess who walked right in? Ok, you're right, Rommy did! This elevator was smaller than the one at the hospital, but it didn't bother Rommy. Good thing he rode it because he had to see his new friends on the second floor!
One woman was so enamored with Rommy she wished her son was there to enjoy him too. We gave her a picture of Rommy so she could see Rommy every day and share him with her son. She hugged the photo and said she would keep it with her at all times.
I'm so proud of these little horses. It's a lot for them to stand quietly, go to new places, and meet so many people. If they didn't enjoy doing this I wouldn't ask them to.
Good boys, Rommy and Rascal!