Ok, so this isn’t a Client Story in the normal format but it’s also a very special blog about 3 very special miniature horses who form Lofty Therapy Horses. I first met some of the team at a local country retailer and I just had to get to know them more…
Lofty is fabulous miniature horse who was bought sort of by accident by April & Steve Kibby. It was sort of accidental as the aim had been to find Steve a horse of his own following a great ranching holiday. However April, who owns a lovely lemon dun and white horse called Bertie, and Steve soon realised that actually a ridden horse probably wasn’t quite the right direction but a companion for Bertie that Steve could have a direct interest would be better. Lofty – or TF Crow Feathers Heart Breaker – a 34″ smokey dun gelding appeared in their lives.
It was one day when Steve’s father was in a Nursing home that they decided to see if the home would let them take Lofty to visit, rather than their dogs. They did and everyone in the home, residents and staff alike, loved having Lofty around… soon after Lofty was being invited to other Nursing Homes and then Hospices and Hospitals…
Lofty the Therapy Horse had arrived!
12 months ago Lofty was joined by an American born and bred miniature sorrel pinto mare, Star, or Whitetails Trigger Shez Just Dandy. 32″ Star had been shipped into the UK previously and was kindly donated after spending some time doing Pony Parties. Following some training Star started her new career as a therapy horse too and more recently April and Steve have added the 2 year old palomino pinto Elmo to the team.
The team relies fully on donations to be able to support these visits to a growing number of Homes, Hospices, Hospitals & Schools. The work they do is invaluable to those that come into direct contact with them. Something as simple as having access to an animal they can stroke and pat can bring so much physical and emotional joy. For many it brings back their own memories with any animal. The joy the visits bring, and the resulting conversations often leads to a speedier recovery or a better quality of life thanks to lower stress levels. Even something as simple as lowering a residents blood pressure can have a dramatic effect on their well being.
How many times have we all seen videos on the internet of incredibly poorly people being able to see their horses during long enforced stays away from home. Incredible aren’t they, and listening to Abbey speak of some of the moments where Lofty and his friends have made an impact on others is really touching.
Obviously there are measures put in place to aid these visits from the team. Each horse (for those that aren’t aware, miniature horses aren’t ponies, they are a specific breed that originated from the USA. They are very much a horse scaled down in size) receives as much training as they can before entering these establishments. They are house trained (although a bucket is always carried!) and they learn to deal with lifts and steps.
There was a bit of a problem though as the corridors in some places are often quite slippy. Something you don’t notice yourself but seeing a dog walk across a floor like this and you instantly see them slip. So you can imagine how the hooves from Lofty Therapy Horses weren’t coping too well. It doesn’t take much for an animal to feel insecure about where they are putting their feet, so this was a real concern.
A very generous donation from a company called Teddy Mountain UK manage to resolve this problem. Teddy Mountain make trainers for Teddy Bears but were able to adapt their design to be used over tiny hooves instead! Now the team sport some pretty eye catching and funky footwear on their visits – yet another conversation point too.
I’m pleased to be able to work alongside April and Steve with Lofty Therapy Horses. In time I hope you’ll be seeing more posts relating to them as I keep up with their busy lives. The team are involved in a really lovely project with me this winter, something that will be released in the fullness of time, but to say they were absolute stars whilst we created the project would be a serious understatement! I can’t wait to catch up with them all again soon!
All donations, however small, matter to this team. It literally keeps them on the road and able to provide joy and conversation to so many in the Somerset & Dorset area. If you’d like to donate (please do) then head to their Facebook Page here Lofty Therapy Horses. You can also keep up with their visits and discover all the incredible companies out there lending a hand to the team.
Have a fabulous week!