They are partnering with the Ouray Schools and the Voyager Program on an anti-bullying program called “Just Say Whoa to Bullying.” This program, once going full steam, will be going to schools up and down the western slope.
These minis travel two days a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, sometimes making three stops in one day. The rest of the week, they are horses just playing in the pasture.
And as you might suspect, volunteers are an important part of this program- essential part to be exact. They travel with the minis. Having horses myself, I’m thinking a horse trailer. Nope…they travel in a specially outfitted Ford Expedition SUV. Parking is easier.
Horses are healers—of that there is no doubt.
Mini horse Glory with Manette and her helper. (Courtesy photo)
So what can “horse therapy” do for a human? Here’s just a short list.
• Lifts spirits and lessen depression and anxiety
• Lower feelings of isolation and alienation
• Encourage communication
• Provide comfort
• Lessen boredom and give people a reason to get out of bed
• Aid children in overcoming speech and emotional disorders
• Reduce loneliness
• And lastly . . .they just are so darn cute!
So why did Manette start this program? She found the corporate world was no longer was satisfying and wanted a change of lifestyle—but one that would be of service to others, something that would be more rewarding.
Having horses is not for the faint of heart. There’s lot of work that goes along with it. Feeding, bathing, grooming, shoveling poop, bedding stalls, and filling water troughs. And, of course vet, and farrier visits to keep the animals healthy. Then, there is scheduling, and asking for donations, and applying for grants to keep the program going.
Albert Einstein said: “Strive not to be a success but rather to be of value.” Looks like that is exactly what Manette Steele is doing.
When you can bring happiness to another and share in some of it yourself—To bask in the sunlight of Glory, Goldie and Sweet Dreams. Not much tops that.
Alice Billings is the owner of Thunder Heart Haven, a sanctuary for older horses. She offers comprehensive art and equine learning programs for adults and children.