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A little horse makes a big impact at Ronald McDonald House in Toledo

(WTVG)
Published: Jul. 2, 2018 at 5:00 PM EDT
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A Wood County farm uses horses to help people heal both physically and emotionally. Serenity Farm in Luckey has been offering equine assisted learning and therapy programs for more than fifteen years. In addition to that work, the farm also makes house calls to places like nursing homes and hospice facilities.

A horse trailer may not be what you expect to find outside the Ronald McDonald House in Toledo, but Thunder and his team make lot of house calls every year.

The miniature horse and his handlers are on a mission to share the simple joy of meeting a horse with as many people as possible. Michelle Reiter is the Associate Director at Serenity Farm, "The horses are so in tune with people, they bring out the best in all of us. Serenity Farm is a place that works to help make life better for children and adults. The horses show people kindness, understanding as well as genuine care and concern. That's why people are drawn to them. Horses make the day better for people."

Thunder is an 11-year-old miniature horse. He's been a therapy horse for more than five years. Thunder and two other minis from Serenity Farm travel around the Toledo area to places like the Ronald McDonald house at least once a week.

Reiter says everywhere the horses go, they deliver lots of smiles and happiness, "Sometimes when we are at nursing homes, the patients will remember when they were children and horses were used to work the fields. It is so rewarding to watch the horses bring back fond memories and help people create new memories."

Thunder was certainly a big hit today with AJ Hamilton and his son Ayden. The family is from Sandusky and stays here during the week to be close to Ayden's little brother who is in the hospital, "I don't know what we would do without this place. Our son was born two months early and we have been lucky enough to stay here. It's a great place especially when they bring the little horse in, it keeps all the kids occupied. The first time Ayden met Thunder he was a little nervous, but he loves animals and this time he went right up to him. It was great to see."

The staff here says the little horse has made a big difference to many families.Mary Kate Makula is the Development Coordinator,"Some of the people here have never seen a horse before so to be able to give them that experience is cool to watch. It warms your heart for sure. Animals are a source of comfort to a lot of people, so to be able to bring that to these families is an awesome thing."

Michelle says a lot of training goes into each horse and she loves watching Thunder and his team at work, "If we can bring a little joy to a little boy and his parents, and show them our support for what they are going through, that is what we strive for. I love seeing all the smiles and knowing that our work helps make life better for people."

The job also allows Michelle to combine her love of children and horses, "When we walk in and see things like this it brings tears to your eyes and a smile to your face. It is overwhelming." A tiny horse, with a big impact on so many lives

Serenity Farm has one of its biggest fundraisers of the year coming up this month. Benefit for the Barn is July 14th at the VFW Post #9963 in Walbridge. Tickets are $25 each. All the money raised is used to continue the programs at the non-profit farm.

We've posted a link with all the information.