Service/companion Minis

Discussion in 'Miniature Horse Forum' started by KLJcowgirl, Mar 23, 2017.

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  1. Mar 23, 2017 #1

    KLJcowgirl

    KLJcowgirl

    KLJcowgirl

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    Hello again all!

    So I know this has been covered a few times, but I have a few personal questions if I may.

    I was approached by a gal I've known for a while tonight (we'll call her OS for older sister) who had some questions I didn't exactly know the answers to. Long story short, her younger sister (YS) was shot in the back of the head and left for dead, but is now making a slow recovery. She is able to communicate but is re learning how to do other basic human functions and will be hospital bound for an extended amount of time. OS asked me about service horses. She wants one to be basically a companion to her sister, as she's missing her horses terribly, but the QH's are much to big for her to be around right now. She asked me if I did training for that or if I knew anybody who did that. I said no, but I would find out more and get back to her.

    So, one thing I'm wondering is, would anybody know of a place or person who might train service minis in Utah or the neighboring states? Would this require special training to be just a companion (like emotional support)? I'm guessing they would want it to be able to come in the house too and be able to go places, because they wanted a service dog, but mom is allergic. I feel this is a bit of a long shot, but worth a try.

    Another question, OS didn't say it, but she certainly hinted that YS would like a visit from a horse.... I have thought about taking my Miss May up to see her, but I'm wary, she's not potty trained or perfectly behaved, but she loves to be loved. YS is now able to go outside for short periods of time, so I thought maybe I could get permission to meet her outside, or maybe even in the lobby. Is there anything I would need to talk about with the hospital? Or would I need to be invited?

    Thank you for your input!
     
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  2. Mar 24, 2017 #2

    Barefootin

    Barefootin

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  3. Mar 24, 2017 #3

    Miniv

    Miniv

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    You'd have to get permission to go in the lobby of the hospital and if you do, I'd recommend puting vet wrap around the bottom of your horse's hoofs for traction.

    We've gone into a nursing home a few times (with permission) and the floors are slippery for horses. We also were prepared for "accidents" with a trash bag and rubber gloves, but never had to use them because our minis tend to empty out in the trailer on the trip over. But I'd still bring them just in case.....even if the horse stays outside to meet with the girl....

    I think what you want to do for this girl is very kind. Warning.....When you let the hospital know, the word will get out and you'll have other folks want to receive some "therapy".
     
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  4. Mar 24, 2017 #4

    Marsha Cassada

    Marsha Cassada

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    If you've never taken your horse into a place like this before, here are a couple of head's up. Don't let anyone feed treats. This can cause trouble. And watch out for glass doors--your horse cannot see them. Mine ran into a glass door so that's why I know.

    Vet wrap is a very good idea.

    If the hospital is large, there will be a PR person to ask.

    I have taken mine indoors several times and he never makes a mess. But it could happen. Throw some wet paper towels in the trash bag in case you have to clean up.

    Hope it works out that you can do this charitable thing.
     
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  5. Mar 24, 2017 #5

    KLJcowgirl

    KLJcowgirl

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    Thank you so much for the link Barefootin!

    I guess I didn't realize it was fairly simple to do that. So I wouldn't need anything special besides permission to visit? Would something like insurance be needed? Or am I thinking into that to much?

    Vet wrap on the feet is an excellent idea. I was just thinking like, Build a bear shoes, but I have lots of cute wrap already!

    I won't lie Marsha, I giggled a little bit picturing a mini running into a glass door.... hopefully that wasn't to cruel of me haha Wouldn't have thought of that.

    And no worries about treats, she doesn't even get them unless she's working for them (unless my hubby is around! [​IMG]), so I don't know I would have even brought any. I don't usually let people feed my horses anyways. But always good to bring up!

    Here's another question. 'Tis the season for shedding... I don't know that I'll make it in to see YS before May gets a shave, but what would you do about all the loose hair? Or would that be something I shouldn't worry about. Last year it seemed to never end no matter how much brushing she got.
     
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  6. Mar 24, 2017 #6

    Marsha Cassada

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    I would not worry about insurance; institutions have their own. Would not worry about hair, either. People will likely just pat a little and that shouldn't jar too much hair out. Make sure she is comfortable with people approaching in a group with their hands out. This can discombobolate a horse, even a friendly one.

    I felt really bad for mine and the glass door. He saw the "outdoors" and hurried right into it. I wasn't expecting it, as I knew to stop to open it. But I keep an eye out, now, when we approach glass doors.

    One thing that might come up; it came up with me. Newspaper folk showed up one time to take pictures and one of the nursing home residents pulled the "privacy act" thing and I got my hand slapped. If any pictures are taken, be sure it is okay with anyone who will be in the picture that might go public. The PR rep could probably help with that.
     
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  7. Mar 28, 2017 #7

    KLJcowgirl

    KLJcowgirl

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    Thank you so much Marsha for that info! She is the one who approaches people, not the other way around haha sometimes makes ground driving her a pain when she veers off to go greet some kids. We're working on that though.

    Do things like wheel chairs and crutches and such seem to bother your bitties? I'm guessing not as carts would be similar to those right?
     
  8. Mar 28, 2017 #8

    Miniv

    Miniv

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    The minis we've used for nursing home visits are/were very calm and gentle. They didn't startle easily and were more curious than anything.

    They may be more apt to rub against things...... [​IMG]
     
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  9. Mar 28, 2017 #9

    chandab

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    As to the loose hair, try vacuuming the hair (or blowing) with a shopvac or a livestock blower. It would pick up or blow off the loose hair, so less would spread around.
     
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  10. Mar 28, 2017 #10

    KLJcowgirl

    KLJcowgirl

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    I have been really wanting one of those livestock blowers.... Hmmmmmm :)
     
  11. Mar 28, 2017 #11

    Marsha Cassada

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    Mine is very careful with oxygen tanks. And he does not mind wheel chairs.
     
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  12. Mar 30, 2017 #12

    AngC

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    You have got to be kidding, right?

    Institutions have insurance to cover their own interests. Unless you have a contract, the institution has no obligation to cover the horse owner. And if something happens, anybody can sue anyone, regardless of merit... You still have to defend yourself. Perhaps, I'm paranoid, but I wouldn't risk it.
     
  13. Mar 30, 2017 #13

    Marsha Cassada

    Marsha Cassada

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    While it is true that many institutional and civic groups do not cover equines, one can ask if one is concerned. We went to a nursing home in a large city a few years ago. We asked in advance, and were told we were covered. Perhaps the Home did not know; if one is concerned, one could work up some sort of release and have it signed by a staff member.

    I do not go indoors in nursing homes any more; many residents are uncomfortable, some downright scandalized, at having a horse in their "home".

    buddymoore.jpg

    moore.jpg
     
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  14. Mar 30, 2017 #14

    Barefootin

    Barefootin

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    Many Hospitals and Nursing homes will not allow animals of any type inside without a certification of some kind. Our 4-H group visits the local Nursing home every year. We stay outside and the staff bring any interested residents and/or visitors out to see the horses. The residents reactions are wide ranging so this suits us well. The horses are amazing with these people. This year one mare was very attentive to 2 different residents. She was even licking them on the back of their hand. She has been several times previously and never displayed quite this much attention anyone. Something must have been special about these 2 people.
     
  15. Mar 30, 2017 #15

    sfmini

    sfmini

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    Horses are prey animals Just sayin
     
  16. Mar 31, 2017 #16

    KLJcowgirl

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    I think that is a very sweet story Barefootin! I do think they know when they are needed, or when they need to be gentle.

    I used to work out at a historical farm and helped with field trip groups. I was often in charge of the "Horse" rotation and explained what horses were used for on farms and things like that. I used a pony named Cotton who is used for their pony rides. He was the most well behaved of the sour bunch, but still a bit snotty, prancy and nippy (I didn't let him get away with it, but others did.. ugh!). But the most well behaved I had ever seen him was with a Disabled Adult group. He was very ginger when approaching them and stood still when they surrounded him. Some of the adults weren't exactly gentle or quiet when petting, but he stood quiet.
     
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  17. Apr 1, 2017 #17

    AngC

    AngC

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    I think it's great that apparently you're doing on-site visits with your horses. You had mentioned oxygen tanks and wheel chairs and appeared to be blowing off liability issues.

    I think our little filly would be great for that sort of thing. But, I've been hesitant due to my concerns regarding liability.
     
  18. Apr 1, 2017 #18

    Marsha Cassada

    Marsha Cassada

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    I have taken him into nursing homes a few times, into various rooms to some who are bed ridden. He is always very careful with apparatus. He has laid his head on the chest of a man who has been unresponsive for a long time. The man laid his hand on Dapper Dan and smiled. The nurse said he hasn't ever smiled before. One blind man felt all over Dapper Dan's head and ears, and said "Yep! It's a horse! "

    Oklahoma isn't a sue-crazy state; I have not worried too much about liability.

    Rowdy is not as calm in such a situation. He appears more laid back in the pasture than Dapper Dan, but once they are out and about, Dapper Dan is much more conscious of himself and his surroundings; Rowdy tends to just react.
     
  19. Apr 2, 2017 #19

    paintponylvr

    paintponylvr

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    That is great, Marsha!

    So nice to hear all of these stories from EVERYONE.

    *************************

    Here's my one experience - sorry - did another long story!

    In 2012 & 2013, I had ponies out on the show trail. When I was choosing trainers, I tried to find some that were in states that I knew I'd be in due to concerns with my parents (TX, MT/IA) and that also fit some of my own philosophies. Turned out well. In March 2012, I made the rounds, taking our oldest daughter and 2 grand daughters (1 - just 4 weeks old, Skye was able to get extended maternity time to go with me). In TX, dropped off 2 ponies and spent time with my Dad in a VA Assisted Living Home - for the first time in about 4 years. Then on up & we dropped 1 pony in IA - visiting both my Mom's twin sister/family and with Mom who was down from MT (she was still able to drive herself then - one of the last times). Then across to IL - where I first attended an AMHR training/learning clinic & then met the trainer(s) & the pony I had purchased site unseen from Buckeye WCF. From there we headed "straight" home. It was a memorable trip and I'm very glad that I made it...

    So, off and on throughout May/June/July, I followed our ponies's progress but wasn't able to go to most of the shows... I did make a couple of trips up to OH to pick up harness and equipment (we were VERY active driving with the ponies I had at home - draft/work style - and attended weekend events with the NC Working Horse and Mule Association several Xs/month). I DID go to both Congress (1 pony ready and did very well. I drove alone & brought home a new bumper pull stock trailer) & Nationals (where I proceeded to come down very sick & stay that way for the next 2 months. Difficult drive home with the 2 ponies in the new trailer alone... They got used to lots of ER stops along the Interstates between OK & NC!!). I kept in touch with the VA Assisted living "folks" - and when the opportunity came up to go to a show "up the road" from Dad's home of residence (LOL), I made many arrangements for the Spooker show in Glendale, TX - where I would also get to see the two ponies that weren't ready for Congress. I had sold the original wagon, but had purchased a nicer, new one in OH for the girls. But I was having trouble with getting the hitch(ing) correct for reasons I didn't understand and while our guys here were great, for some reason we couldn't ever seem to get it right. The girls would pull it, it was definitely lighter and easier to maneuver but it made them unhappy!

    I was still not able to make this trip alone, and my pony/driving friend came with me and did some of the driving (funny - I don't do so well driving her goose neck rig and she doesn't do so well driving my bumper pull rig). But we made it work. Hit the VA Assisted living home first - they had agreed to a day visit as long as I had helpers for the ponies as they didn't.

    The ponies DID NOT go into the building(s) - interested/able and w/ help, folk came out. I did have a bit of extra coverage on our insurance (home/farm) for this one event - can't remember now what it was called. We were able to give rides to several home residents AND the ponies got a lot of petting, o'ing and ah'ing. We found out that the wagon I had purchased IS NOT a good one for elderly, not moving well folk to mount/dismount. The "steps" are in the wrong place and are the wrong type, BUT with help from many at the home, we gave rides to several people for several hours. I have a handful of pictures, though never got one of me with my dad (the Home Director said she took several but for some reason, they never seemed to make it to me [​IMG] ). I have been asked several times in the years since, if I could do it again - but we have not been able to put together the finances, TIME and people at one time to do so - though I DID make it to both TX and IA last year (flying/rental cars) - our younger two daughters made it to TX and the youngest also drove up to MT to visit my mom directly - both in 2016 & again just recently. My pony/drive friend has resorted to also doing home care here w/ her own father and can no longer go anywhere for more than a couple of hours at one time - [​IMG] .

    For those who have not seen pictures of this time I spent with the ponies and driving time and family - here is the family album (I do not have the pics on my lap top right now & no time to get them). Go almost to the bottom... and you will find pics from the trips in 2012. The ponies are here - Bell Bit shetland mare pair

    Go down to the box that says "Wagon Rides - William R Courtney - TX State Veterans Home, Oct 2012. Hopefully these links work for now. I will post pics later this eve - off to take animals to the vet for Coggins & Rabies vax.

    O, and we did make it to the Spooktacular Show. Watched our two ponies, got LOTs of HELP from folks with my hitching of our mares and then they proceeded to convince me to enter them in the show in pair driving... The memories will be cherished!!!

    ********

    The trip and the rides were worth it and anyone who can do something like this in their community - it IS worth it! Just check to see what IS required in your state and county for insurance, certification and training. IF you are able to go inside a home or hospital, check into the various types of protection for your horse's hooves. IF there is a possibility that your horse will "go" (our 40" ponies DO) - consider one of the many types of "bun bags" that are currently available. ALWAYS take whatever you need to make clean up possible and to remove any leavings your horse may produce - even urine (extra water to dilute/wash it away on pavement outside - even the drippings from your trailer!). Also, take something to clean the nose/mouth/eyes of your horse as well as under the tail - so that they are as clean as possible when they come into contact with any people. Some, even those that can get around well, have compromised immune systems. A simple, $50 shop vac removes dust, dirt and hair from your mini VERY, well and very fast. You don't need the pricey Horse Vacs that are out there, LOL. You could even arrange to plug into an outlet and do another vac/groom when you arrive at your destination.
     
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  20. Apr 2, 2017 #20

    Marsha Cassada

    Marsha Cassada

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    Paula, you always have such adventures!

    I wanted to clarify that the man Dapper Dan visited did not lay his hand on Dapper Dan; the nurse took his hand and laid it on my horse. When his hand touched the fur, his fingers moved and he smiled. I don't know what his past was; possibly a farmer that plowed with horses and the touch just reached back into his memory. I still get teary when I remember it.

    Dapper Dan can be an ornery little monster. But when he gets around old folks or retarded adults, he is very gentle. We had friends who care give a retarded woman visiting one time. She was sitting at the outdoor table eating cereal in the morning. Dapper Dan came up to chat and she fed him fruit out of her bowl. Now, he is an inveterate nipper. I was terrified, and ready to intervene, but my friend held me back. She said it was called "the dignity of risk". Dapper Dan took the fruit out of her fingers nicely, she patted his nose, and he went on his way.

    Do not know how a horse that is so ornery can be so good with helpless people.

    Anyone who has a chance to share his horses with these folks, I hope you will try to do it. There may be 10 people who don't like it, but there may be just one that smiles.
     
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