Therapy horse Catherine at the Pulse nightclub memorial in Orlando, FL

Therapy horse Catherine at the Pulse nightclub memorial in Orlando, FL

the biggest little heroes
gentle carousel

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Aired February 22, 2019

Wherever there is heartbreak, pain, or tragedy, you’ll find them:
the biggest little heroes — bringing joy and easing the sadness.

Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses is an award winning, all volunteer 501(c)(3) charity celebrating 20 years of service.  The teams of therapy horses work with over 25,000 adults and children each year inside hospitals, hospice programs and with families who have experienced traumatic events. 

The horses were called in to comfort survivors and first responders of the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC, and the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL. They have also helped the tornado survivors of Moore, OK, victims of the fires in Gatlinburg, TN, families in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and thousands of patients in children's and veterans hospitals across the country. 

Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses helped teach a class at Columbia Medical School, have visited Congress in Washington, D.C., were special guests at Arlington National Cemetery and the 911 Memorial in NYC, were invited to meet the twin baby pandas at the Atlanta Zoo and have appeared on the concert stage in Nashville, Tennessee. Therapy horse Anthem appeared in the film “Apple of My Eye” with Burt Reynolds and Amy Smart. Therapy horse Scout is a Florida State Park Ranger. 

Working indoors would be a challenge for any horse but they make it look easy, even in highrise hospital buildings. They walk up and down steps, ride in elevators, walk on unusual floor surfaces, carefully move around hospital and television studio equipment, work in small patient rooms, and stay calm around unexpected sounds like ambulances, alarms, and even hospital helicopters... and yes they are house trained. 

The therapy horses go through a two-year basic in-hospital training program, but are always learning new skills.  The horses work with medical professionals in oncology units, the ICU, and with occupational, speech and physical therapists as part of the treatment for patients who have suffered strokes, traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, amputations, and burns. 

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