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Therapy horses come out of hibernation

ADDISON, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - We're familiar with therapy dogs, how about therapy horses? 

They're called miniature therapy horses.

18 News introduced you to one in August 2017, when a 10-year-old certified therapy horse named Sarah visited a nursing home in Corning.

Sarah is one of four horses part of Tender Grace Miniature Horse Therapy, a non-profit organization that takes miniature horses into local nursing homes to visit the residents, common areas, or right to the bedside.

The horses have been hibernating from the public the last 6 months due to the cold weather.

During the winter months president and founder Cathy Fortier trains the horses at their site in Addison.  Their training ground consists of two wheelchairs, a walker, jumps and different various balls.

"I come out here and I sit in the wheel chair, I walk with the walker, it's a lot of desensitizing because horses are scared of just about everything so you have to teach them that these things are not scary because these are the things that they have to be able to maneuver around," said Fortier.

Fortier says Tender Grace is a volunteer based organization that enjoys serving those less fortunate.

"Whenever I have a new volunteer starting, that's kind of my testing point, I always say, did you cry?" Fortier said.  "Because you can't not shed a tear when you see them bury their heads right into their foreheads and just hold them, it's just an amazing thing." 

Starting in May, you can visit the horses at the Addison site with a suggested donation.

Tender Grace Miniature Horse Therapy is a not for profit 501(c)(3) organization, which means any donations are tax deductible.

Fortier tells 18 News she plans to expand the horses to the Bath VA Medical Center to help patients with PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) and also visit schools to promote anti-bullying.

To learn more visit https://www.facebook.com/TenderGrace

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