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Magic, famed member of Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses, has been named to TIME/CNN’s list of "history's ten most courageous animals.” She joins an elite group that includes, among others:
- Bucephalus, the famed steed of Alexander the Great
- Togo the sled dog who brought serum to save Nome when diphtheria broke out in 1925
- Stubby the WWI hero war dog who became a lifetime member of the American Legion and later became Georgetown University's mascot
- Simon the British cat known for her heroic voyage down China's Yangtze River (her obituary appeared in TIME magazine in 1949)
- New Zealand's Moko the dolphin
The tiny blue-eyed mare works in hospitals, assisted care programs, programs for Alzheimer's patients, group homes and with patients in hospice care. She also works with sheriff's officers in high crime neighborhoods as part of a community outreach program and helps children with developmental delays and at-risk and abused children. From wearing tuxedos to a magical tea party for a child with a life ending illness to working with autistic children, Magic brings her special love where it is needed most.
Magic visits inside private homes as well as in public programs. She walks up and down stairs, rides in elevators, walks on unusual floor surfaces, works near other animals (including elephants and zebras for a literacy photo shoot) and moves around hospital equipment. She also has learned to let her handler know when she needs to go outside for a bathroom break. Magic has even traveled on airplanes and worked in busy television and radio studios. She is always calm in challenging situations and trusts her handler completely when something unexpected happens.
It is always encouraging to see the faces of elderly patients when Magic walks into an assisted living program. One woman had not left her room for six months but was waiting in the lobby early in the morning when she heard Magic was coming. Magic was asked to visit a gentleman who had been the stunt double for John Wayne, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. He had spent his life working with horses and wanted to be with a horse one last time. Another gentleman in hospice care at home passed away with his hand resting on Magic’s head. Magic often returns to her farm with lipstick stains on her face from being kissed so many times.
On one therapy horse visit, a woman who had not spoken since she arrived at an assisted care facility three years earlier began talking to Magic. "Isn't she beautiful?" were her first words. "It's a horse." The activities director began to cry and told the woman she loved her. "I love you too," the woman answered ... her first words to another person in all those years. The woman has continued to talk ever since that visit with Magic. Because of the visit, Magic was selected AARP's 2010 Most Heroic Pet in America and her story has traveled around the world in magazines and newspapers from the United Kingdom to New Zealand, Argentina to Pakistan, the Soviet Union to Thailand and South Korea.
Magic has a very special relationship with children and when she walks into a bedroom or hospital room it is always a magical experience. Magic has "fairy dust" sparkles in her hair, bright costumes and painted hooves. One little girl recovering from a heart transplant said Magic made her face hurt from smiling so much. A boy losing his sight because of a brain tumor held Magic close to his face so he could always remember what she looked like. "It is like she can see inside my soul," he told his mother. Another girl with leukemia said she would only get out of bed for Magic. When Magic leaves the room, a stuffed horse that looks like the real one is left behind on each bed.
Magic's award-winning literacy program, Gentle Carousel's "Reading Is Magic," brings real horses inside schools, at-risk youth programs and libraries to inspire young readers and "bring books to life." The 24 tiny horses in the program look like the horse characters in loved children's books. Magic also makes appearances with therapy horse Sundance, star of the children's novel JASON AND ELIHU, by bestselling author Shelley Mickle to help raise money for child abuse prevention programs. Magic is the star of the children's book LOVE IS, an early reader book for Pre-K and Head Start programs. Magic receives e-mail from children around the world.
Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses is an all volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity. To learn more and see photos of Magic at work visit www.Horse-Therapy.org
Others who read this article have also inquired about: equine massage, equine health, horse health, equine therapy and holistic horse. Holistic Horse magazine is your guide to natural horse health. www.holistichorse.com