Henry: Portrait of a Miniature Therapy Pony
As far back as I can remember I always wanted to be a therapy pony. To me, being a therapy pony was the best thing in the world. I mean it was better than being… I don’t know, the President of the United States. And now, finally after a pretty weird life, my dream has come true.
My name is Henry. I’m a miniature pony, and this is my story.
Then I was adopted by a new family. They were super nice, and they had a big horse for me to hang out with, so I had some company. At first I was scared, but they gave me a great barn to live in, fed me delicious, sweet hay and carrots (yum!), and taught me to accept hugs and to allow myself to be groomed. Now, those are some of my favorite things! It took me awhile, but eventually I learned to trust them, and humans in general.
And all the while, I still knew that someday, someway, I wanted to help people.
Then, about a year ago I guess (Hey! I don’t know, they don’t keep a calendar in the stalls, OK?), I met a second new family – my forever family. We got loaded up onto the trailer, and headed out. I didn’t know it at the time, but my life was about to change again.
After what seemed like a really long trip, we pulled up a long lane to a beautiful ranch at the base of the mountains and buttes. Lots of wide open space to run it looked like, not to mention a few nice barns and stables that looked big, but also cozy and comfortable. There were some horses trotting, cantering, and galloping around the place too. Nice!
I mean it was cool and all, but what the heck were we doing here?
After talking some more, my owner got back into her truck and drove off. At first I was a little freaked out TBH, but the little girl – her name is Anna – started brushing me, talking to me, and playing with my mane. I got distracted by how great it felt, and before long, I just felt totally relaxed, like I was home.
After a few weeks of hanging around with Anna and my other new best friend Pepperoni – a miniature steer (miniature pony, miniature steer – what’s the deal with these people and their miniature animals?) – and just getting used to my new home, they started to give me actual jobs to do. Like help show all the other little humans who come around here how to feed the big horses and the chickens.
One night a bunch of sort of middle-sized humans came over. They were dressed all, like shiny and stuff. Turns out they were having something called prom, and I got to escort some of the girls who didn’t have fellas with them. Needless to say I felt pretty full of myself that night. I even got to wear a top hat! Plus I got to wear a top hat, which is super stylish.
A few months later, they had me dress up like a donkey to be the star of a Christmas play. Let me tell you, in spite of getting uglied up for the role (no offense, real donkeys!), I was such a huge hit, I had a command performance on Palm Sunday as well.
Then there are times when my people clear out the stables, set up a bunch of tables and people come out to have dinner in the stable. I don’t understand the whole sitting-at-a-table-and-eating-with-your-front-legs thing, but whatever. They seem to have a great time. Apparently all the carrots and apples come from local farms and ranches. And I guess the family raises their own beef too (I don’t know what beef is, but I’m not supposed to tell Pepperoni about it).
When these things are going on, I take Annie around to all the people, showing her off, and letting them feed and pet me.
All this helping out around the ranch is great. I met some other new humans, Annie braids my hair all the time, so I always look amazing, and I get to feel like I’m a real member of the family.
After a few months of ranch life, another new person came along and helped me to make my dream of helping people come true.
Deb is called a therapy trainer, and does something called equine assisted therapy. Big words, but they just mean that her job is to help people get over their stuff, like I said before. And I get to help her friends by letting them groom and pet me, and by just being chill and bonding with them. It helps calm them down, and lets them feel more independent. So basically she’s kind of like my assistant.
It’s great. Like I said, it’s what I always wanted to do with my life. I’m supposed to tell you to call Michelle if you have any questions, and give you these numbers for some reason: 720-232-5669.