One such horse is Valentino.
Valentino is a beautiful Tenessee Walking Horse Cross whose first few years of live were terrible. He had been abandoned in a field as a yearling. For over a year, he was all alone and neglected in this pasture. Some kind neighbors fed him and, finally called a horse rescue organization.
Meanwhile, Therapeutic Animal Partners in Spring Hill, TN, needed some new horses for its center to help handicapped riders. Director Terri Knauer watched Valentino in a training session at the state horse fair and immediately felt something special. He was, not only the right size for a therapy horse, and young enough to be trained for their program, but there was just something special about him...perhaps she knew he would be able to empathize with is riders more than others. She adopted Valentino and started training him for EAAT (Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies.)
He became the perfect Therapy horse...the one they could always "go to" with any need. Not only is he quiet and intelligent but he is so very patient! (Don't we wish we all had such virtues-in Behind the Mist, Nick struggles to develop the unicorn virtue of patience.) In her nominating letter to Path, Intl, Terri Knauer mentioned that "He loves toys and games and sometimes breaks a tense moment by pickiing up a toy in his mouth to help a frustrated rider." Another example: "One child came to the center missing the horse she used to ride at another center. On being introduced, Valentino gently blew on her neck then dropped his head so they could look into each other’s eyes, and the two held each other’s gaze for half a minute. That moment bonded these two and gave this young girl the hope that she could find love, trust, confidence and companionship with another horse."
Yes, horses are truly amazing! He really loves working with the handicapped riders. It's as though he is trying to teach them that they, too, can overcome life's challenges and reach the stars.
Valentino is a star!
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Don't forget to get Mists of Darkness-Book 2 of the Mist Trilogy on Amazon's Kindle store soon! I will let you know the day it comes out!!!