Special Horse Helps Autistic Children

Newsdate: Thu, 21 Apr 2011 - 12:25 pm
Location: AMARILLO, Texas

According to the American Quarter Horse Foundation Quarterly, a very special horse is helping some very special children.

At first, “Magic” sounded perfect. The bay American Quarter Horse gelding had done it all: He had jumped, been a pony horse at a polo barn, showed dressage, been trail ridden and had the classic Quarter Horse temperament.

That’s how his owner, Jody Lynn McBrien, described him to Gail Clifton of the Sarasota-Manatee Association for Riding Therapy (SMART) in Bradenton, Florida, hoping to donate him to the therapeutic riding program.

“And then Jody said, ‘Well, I need to tell you the rest of the story,’ Gail recalls with a smile. “‘He’s blind. … He has no eyeballs.’”

Magic had suffered from chronic uveitis since the age of 3, when Jody bought him. Around age 5, he lost the sight in one of his eyes and a year later he went completely blind. Jody had his eyes removed because they were painful, but continued riding and showing him.

Magic's blindness helps autistic children, who often avoid eye contact, feel at ease around the horses at the Sarasota-Manatee Association for Riding Therapy therapeutic riding program.

About the Author

Flossie Sellers

As an animal lover since childhood, Flossie was delighted when Mark, the CEO and developer of EquiMed asked her to join his team of contributors.

She enrolled in My Horse University at Michigan State and completed a number of courses in everything related to horse health, nutrition, diseases and conditions, medications, hoof and dental care, barn safety, and first aid.

Staying  up-to-date on the latest developments in horse care and equine health is now a habit, and she enjoys sharing a wealth of information with horse owners everywhere..