Therapy horses

Learning Curve

Narrated by Kate

To give you a bit of background about me: I started out a “new” horsewoman. I spent my suburban childhood and college years without a single animal companion! (GASP!) The only animals we had in our home were a few fish … and they only lasted a few weeks before my dad tried to clean the tank. (Sorry dad!) I came home from school to an empty fish tank - so, fish were out. On top of that, my parents could never agree on a size of dog they wanted: dad wanted a great pyrenees like he had grown up with, and mom wanted a small dog that didn’t bark or shed… 🤔 (basically she wanted a stuffed toy) - so we never actually had animals.

Meeting horses for the first time was a bit intimidating for me. Honestly - just being on a farm with 6 dogs was a shock to me. But, in a sense I think that helped me in my training abilities. I was a clean slate. We have people of all abilities contact us, some have had horses (like Lisa) for practically their entire life. Others, have spent their life around horses, but have never owned any. Still others, have extensive experience with dogs but want to get involved with horses, and a few are just like me.

I’ll share one of my favorite learning stories, that may help open your eyes to some lessons your trainers have been trying to teach you.


Denver & the Scary Grate

Denver

We were out training in downtown Oxford. It was a gorgeous day, years ago, where we had visitors who were purchasing horses shadow us to get a feel for how we train our horses. We had started writing down our training material but didn’t have seminars available yet. Downtown Oxford has a nice piazza area where you can often hear bands playing and a nice lawn area where students were doing their homework and relaxing in the grass.

Steps are a big deal for horses, we all know that. But, try concrete steps with a grate at the bottom of them for drainage. I want to say we had Denver and Dallas out to train together. Dallas - like the champ he always is - walks carefree over the grate and up the four wide steps to the platform. Denver, starts to follow Dallas, but notices this strange grate and plants his feet. I squat down on the stairs (boo-boo #1) and give him a little pressure to move forward. He resists, so I let up on pressure to let him regroup. His head bobs down to smell the grate and I apply pressure again. He pulls back a bit but I “hold my ground” (boo-boo #2) and keep pressure to see if he will come forward. Sure enough - he caves into the pressure. But, did you notice boo-boo #1 was my squat? He caves into the pressure and jumps towards me. Practically on top of me. … Well… I was in shock. Lisa came over and took Denver so I could stand up and regroup.

Red in the face, I started to think, “there is no way I can handle horses!” I take Dallas from Lisa and she goes back at it with Denver. Remember that key that horses learn in pictures - that is NOT the kind of picture I want Denver using every time he sees stairs. Lisa takes him around the ramped sidewalk, back into the grass (careful to avoid stairs) and talks her way thru doing this again with Denver.

Keep moving, forward motion is always better. If he stops to smell the grate, which he thinks is a big black hole, let him, then turn around, regroup and head forward towards the steps again. Walk NEXT to him, say “step” and continue forward as if there is nothing out of the ordinary. If you are nervous, the horse will pick up on that. If they stop, turn around and try it again.

Low and behold, after giving him a second to smell the grate, turning around to regroup and walking towards the steps again; Denver took a leap over the grate and walked right up the steps. She continued this movement a few more times until the leap turned into a slightly elevated step. We end training on a positive note then walked back towards the trailer.


The Learning Curve

I am constantly learning! I don’t think I know near enough about how horses’ think or perceive the world. I do know for a fact - you can only get better if you practice. Learn from your mistakes, and create ground-rules for what to do in certain situations. Sure, I came into this with the least knowledge of all of us, but I think it has truly made me appreciate the bond I share with all the animals I have “started from the bottom” with. The relationship I have with Denver is quite a unique bond now, because we have made mistakes together and grown thru them. I’m thankful for my learning curve and hope to continue learning from each horse I have the pleasure of training with.

Therapy Horse Handler Certification

SEVEN OAKS FARM MINIATURE THERAPY HORSES
IS DEDICATED TO TEACHING OTHERS AND SHARING YEARS OF KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERTISE.

Creating a handler certification as well as a horse registration program has been a long-time goal of ours. We want to create a standard of excellence across the world of miniature therapy horses and animal assisted activities. Over the past few years, we have been teaching those across the country to replicate what we do; and by using that same material - we are creating a certification program to carry that excellence throughout the industry.

There are still details to work out; but we wanted to share the ideas we have for those who want to stay in the loop during this process.


Overview

MINIATURE THERAPY HORSES 103

This seminar is for those interested in handler certification! Miniature Therapy Horses 103 is available entirely online, so anyone around the world can work thru the materials, quizzes, and become certified as a miniature therapy horse handler.

CVG Airport

What you will receive:

  • In the mail:

    • 100+ page bound student guide and

    • DuPont healthcare training booklets with quizzes.

  • Through email:

    • Secure link with access to lecture videos, YouTube videos, and additional materials. There will be linked tests over each individual section, as well as a final exam.

To receive your handler certification, you will have to:

a) watch the lecture over the section;

b) complete a quiz after each lecture video;

c) watch any additional videos to reinforce the materials;

d) complete quizzes in the additional training series over specialized human resources and healthcare;

e) record videos of handling during visits;

f) provide a background check and;

g) complete a final exam.

After sending in the completed quizzes, background check and passing the final exam; expect an e-version of your Miniature Therapy Horse Handler Certification.

 

MINIATURE THERAPY HORSES 104

This handler certification program is geared for participants who have been through another one of our seminars. We highly recommend finishing either Miniature Therapy Horses 102 or 103, after which you can register for the Miniature Therapy Horses 104 course.

Version 2

Locations:

  • Ohio,

  • California,

  • Missouri,

  • Oregon, and

  • Florida.

This entirely hands-on seminar is to enhance everything you have learned in Miniature Therapy Horses 101, 102 and 103 to give you a full understanding of training and handling miniature therapy horses. You do not need to bring your own horses, all horses will be provided by the host farm.

Details:

  • 1-day Saturday course (dates TBD)

  • 9:00am - 7:30pm

  • Lunch and dinner are provided

  • Question & Answer sessions over meals

  • Limited class size: 10 participants

  • Full day of hands-on training with Lisa Moad & staff

  • Final exam after dinner

The exams will be graded by Lisa Moad and her staff; upon completion and passing of the exam, expect an e-version of your Advanced Miniature Therapy Horse Handler Certification.


INTERESTED?

Name *
Name
Address *
Address
Seminar Preferance *
Please choose which seminar you are interested in (you can pick more than one).
If you are interested in hosting a 104 seminar, please let us know; we would love to connect!

Helping Others

Follow your dreams!

We had the pleasure a few weeks ago of speaking with a mom who was trying to help her daughter follow her dream. This young gal, Taylor, had already established a therapy program using a few of her own horses she had trained. Unfortunately, thru no fault of her own, tragedy struck and left this girl with no horses. 

We were able to step in and offer Taylor a hand by providing three horses that could be the foundation of her program again. Remington, Minnie and Tammy are at their new home and are already being showered in love. Our mission of serving others, bringing joy and offering hope will be lived out in this young girl and 3 little horses. We wish "Healing Hooves Ministry" all the best as they serve their local community.  

Taylor with her younger brother and sister.

Taylor with her younger brother and sister.

May the "horse" be with you

We took Jet & Toby Keith out to a local assisted living facility we've visited a few times before. What a blast. After a winter break, everyone was asking about the parade and complementing our outfits.

Jet

Jet

Of course, the majority of the attention was given to our two cute boys. We made several visits to rooms of residents and through the halls. It's always nice to see familiar faces who ask about relations with other horses at home. The residents at Birchwood have met many of our therapy horses and always want some background about the horses we bring. 

During room visits we met some residents we'd never seen before - each was very greatful (and shocked!) that we had brought a horse to see them. One woman never dreamed any animal bigger than the birds in her window would visit her, she was amazed. 

Toby Keith

Toby Keith

Anothet sweet man asked us if we were real, stating "I'm a martini drinker, and I'm not sure if it's me or the alcohol seeing this!" He followed us around for the next few minutes just to make sure.

Toby & Jet made some lasting impressions on the residents at this facility and we love to be able to offer some joy and a sense of hope to everyone there. On our way out, a man drinking his afternoon tea explained we couldn't be late for these cute boys dinner and left us with, "May the Horse Be With You!" 

How Can I Help?

Are you itching to get involved? Would you love to make a difference? We have many ways you can help with our programs. Here's some ideas:

  • Follow us on social media & share our posts. We're on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Help us spread the word about our #ittybittyhorses
Dorothy, one of our weekly volunteers.

Dorothy, one of our weekly volunteers.

 

  • Volunteer! As a working farm we have many jobs we cannot do just on our own. Contact Shelby our Volunteer Coordinator to schedule a time to come help out. Some of the jobs we would have you do would include:
    • walking and training horses
    • mucking stalls
    • cleaning the barn
    • clearing and maintaining fields, pastures, and fence line 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Donate! You can help with everyday costs, like feed or hay or become one of our "Guardian Angels" and sponsor a horse for a year. Donations of certain values help us with various costs for our therapy horses. Some ideas are:
    • full sponsorship for one horse for a year ($1,200)
    • partial sponsorship for one horse for a year ($300)
    • average cost per visit ($150)
    • vet visit ($85)
    • custom therapy vest ($65)
    • one horses' feed and hay for the month ($45)
    • bedding for a stall ($40)
    • farrier hoof trim for one horse ($35)
    • fuel for one visit ($30)
    • one bag of grain ($18)
    • a book for our reading program ($10)

Thank You. It's because of your willingness to help and generous donation that we can continue to serve others, bring joy, and offer hope. 

Cincinnati Enquirer Features S.O.F. Therapy Horses at CVG.

It is always a pleasure to have our programs featured throughout various media outlets. The Cincinnati Enquirer featured our CVG program and the joy that it brings to many of the passengers arriving and departing. 

Thank you, we are honored to be featured and have Love, Joy, and Hope spread throughout the Ohio Valley. 

Lisa - Founder of S.O.F. Miniature Therapy Horses. 

Feeling Better

First we would like to thank you for all your support and prayers.

We've began training again, and all are enjoying the spike in weather. Our full-time handlers are here working with the horses and running them through our training exercises. Once our herd is fully recovered and cleared by the our vet we will return to our training visits. 

The girls have been hard at work getting horses back into the routine of halters, grooming, and mock-visits. Training around the farm involves lots of petting, loving and working on loud noises and quick movements.

We're excited to get back into working toward what we love. All the horses have been very receptive and quick to remember what they have learnd. Wendy, Harley, and Jet are all back to being the cutest things we've every seen and enjoy meandering around the farm while we train with other horses. Spirits are getting lifted and we're getting excited for what's to come.

Again, we'd like to thank you for all your thoughts and prayers for our horses. We'll keep you posted with pictures and videos.

On the Mend

I am glad to report that most of the horses are doing well and are almost fully recuperated from their illness. A few are still being treated but will recover nicely as well. This has not been an easy disease to deal with, there is lots of quarantine procedures to follow. We want to protect our horses and we certainly want to contain this to our farm only. We are being very careful to wash all items and disinfect everything we can.

It also means we have voluntarily closed our farm to all visits for the month of January. We hope you understand our over protectiveness but our horses health is very important to us and so is the rest of the equine community. We hope to resume normal visiting hours and have volunteers back on their normal schedules as well.

We certainly appreciate your understanding and all you support for the horses. I am sure within a few weeks all the horses will right back to their old selves, running, playing, and bring joy to so many.

Denver, Duke and Dallas all say thank you for your get well wishes.

Denver, Duke and Dallas all say thank you for your get well wishes.