Therapy horses head for scene of mass shooting

Therapy horse Magic.
Therapy horse Magic.

Her name is Magic and she has woven plenty of it in her time as a therapy horse.

Magic is among four miniature horses from Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses in Gainsville, Florida, who will be travelling to Connecticut to help those traumatized by the December 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown that claimed 26 lives.

Shooter Adam Lanza, 20, shot and killed 20 children and six adults at the school before killing himself.

The Gainesville Sun reports that the therapy organisation, founded and operated by Debbie Garcia-Bengochea and her husband, Jorge, are answering the call from several organisations to provide therapy horses.

“There are some significant things that we are going to be doing. We know we are going to be working with children, families and first responders,” Garcia told the Sun.

“We do a lot of work with at-risk children and in schools and reading programs at libraries, so the horses are kind of a match for this situation.”

Blue-eyed Magic has an international reputation.

She made headlines early in 2010, when she helped transform the life of an elderly woman who had not said a word at the Florida assisted-care facility where she had lived for three years.

Then, in walked Magic, who lit a spark in the woman.

While a reporter was taking photos of the therapy horse visit, the woman began talking to Magic. “Isn’t she beautiful,” were her first words. “It’s a horse.”

Hampton Manor’s activities director, Linda McSorley, began to cry and told the woman she loved her.

“I love you too,” she answered – her first full sentence to another person in the time she had been there.

Before Magic left, the woman asked, “Will she come back again?”

She continued to communicate from that point on.

The little pony’s efforts won her the title of “Most Heroic Pet in America” in a vote organized by the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) magazine.

AARP is the world’s largest circulation magazine, with over 25 million subscribers.

Magic was selected from 10 finalists to take the title.

Magic has also been named among Time/CNN’s list of “history’s 10 most courageous animals”.

The little blue-eyed horse works with adults and children inside hospitals, hospice programmes, and assisted-living facilities.

She also works with abused children and children with disabilities. Magic can walk up and down stairs, ride in elevators and moves around hospital equipment. Magic is also housebroken.

Debbie and Jorge Garcia-Bengochia have found that Magic has been part of many little miracles and has touched hundreds of lives in north Florida area over the past few years.

The therapy horses of Gentle Carousel visited more than 18,000 adults and children each year.


Gentle Carousel therapy horses



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