A little girl sits quietly in a children’s hospital, trying not to cry from pain. Suddenly the door to her room opens and in comes… a horse! But this horse is less than three feet tall, about the size of a big dog, and she is wearing a tux! The little girl’s face lights up with surprise and pleasure. Jumping up, she wraps her arms around the little horse’s neck.
This is Magic, a mini horse who works for Gentle Carousel, a non-profit volunteer group based in Florida. Gentle Carousel raises and trains mini horses, who can be taken indoors and can go into hospitals to visit suffering patients. Over the years, Gentle Carousel’s horses have visited children suffering from cancer and comforted the victims of school shootings. They’ve helped elderly patients in nursing homes and met wounded veterans and police officers. Magic and her sister Valor have even been made honorary sheriff’s deputies for their work with the community.
Once, Magic visited an elderly woman - a patient in a nursing home - who had not spoken in years. But when the woman saw the tiny horse, she cried, “Isn’t she beautiful!” The director of the nursing home burst into tears. “I love you,” she told the woman. “I love you too,” the woman replied. The woman has been able to speak ever since then.
This is just one example of the help these little horses can give. Gentle Carousel has expanded over the years. In addition to their base in Florida, they now have bases in California and New York and even one in Greece. These horses might be little, but they are filling a big need!