Therapy horse brightens day with disposition

Thursday, July 17th 2008, 7:53 pm
By: News 9

By Melissa Maynarich, NEWS 9

To see Sunny the miniature horse walking, is something that veterinarians didn't think was possible. Sunny was born with two crippled legs, and was nearly as small as a human baby.

"We called the vet to come out and see what he could do," Shirley McConnell said.

The vet told McConnell that she just needed to have the horse put to sleep the following morning, but there was something about this mini horse that made his owners find a way to keep him alive, and stabilize his legs.

Now, "Sunny" short for Sunday's Promise, named for the day he was born, is bringing smiles to the faces of people with disabilities any given day of the week.

"Since he was crippled, he didn't get to run with other horses," McConnell said. "He had to be taken away, so people are more his companions than the horses."

The average mini horse is 39 inches, but Sunny measures in at about 26 inches. It's not his small size, but his disposition that makes him a wonderful therapy horse.

"I love to see him," 91-year-old Moline Smith said. "We pet him when they bring him here."

Moline Smith spends her days at adult day center "Easter Seals." She broke her hip around the time she turned 90-years-old, and she said Sunny brightens her days.

"It gives you something to think about and to see," Smith said. "I've enjoyed him."

At Easter Seals, there are people with Cerebral Palsy, stoke survivors, some who've had a traumatic brain injury, and also children with disabilities.

"We realize with the different things that Sunny has to deal with, we also have disabilities we much deal with," Vicki Wood of Easter Seals said. "We can also bring smiles to others."

"It's a diversion in their day," McConnell said. "I think a lot of times their days are the same, and this is a little diversion.