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Meet Our Horses

Most people don’t realize what good horses therapy horses must be.

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Meet Our Horses

What makes a good therapy horse?

Calmly accepts new people and stressful environments

First of all, therapy horses must enjoy being around people, and having people around them — all the way around!  Since many riders require a leader, 2 sidewalkers and an assistant or instructor very close by, these horses must quietly accept being a bit crowded.

Reacts well to sudden/unusual movements by the rider due to lack of strength/balance or disability

Exercises and games used with riders produce some unusual movements a horse must become accustomed to, and some riders’ disabilities produce sudden movements of arms or legs and/or trunk movement due to lack of strength and/or balance. Our horses must learn to tolerate these movements and to trust the people around them so they will stay calm when something unexpected happens. They also must stand quietly for mounting and dismounting our riders, which can take much longer than most horses are accustomed to. It takes 6 – 9 months for a horse to become comfortable with all the non-traditional things that are expected of them in a therapeutic riding program.

Quality of movement – Must be able to move freely in a balanced, rhythmic manner in all three gaits (Walking, trot, and canter)

Equally important to a therapeutic riding program is the quality of the horse’s movement. Therapy horses must be able to move freely and in a balanced, rhythmic manner in all three gaits — walk, trot and canter/lope. An even, smooth movement builds strength much more efficiently than movement that is uneven or unbalanced. Poor movement quality may also indicate an injury or weakness that might be made worse by the work expected in a therapeutic riding program. Our horses are exercised regularly to keep them moving freely and responsive to traditional aids — weight, legs, hands/reins and voice. As the pictures here illustrate, we expect them to move well, and they do!

The regular exercise the horses get also provides a good change of pace for them, which is as valuable for horses as it is for people. Turning them out together in a large paddock allows them to socialize and bond in a herd structure that is normal for horses and important for their psychological  well-being.      

Many of the program horses come to us from loving owners who can no longer ride or compete with the horse, but want to make sure they remain in a healthy, secure environment. Some remain owners or donate them to us.

Horses

Tanzi

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The Arthur family purchased Tanzi, a registered Tenneessee Walker, seven years ago when she was only a year and a half old.  Given to Katrina Arthur as a Christmas present, Tanzi was loved on until she was ready to ride.  She was trained by Stephanie Mcglothlin and Katrina with the fundamentals of natural horsemanship.  "I was taught to listen to the horse and learned how to communicate with her through body language," said Katrina.  Tanzi was never trained with a bit and saddle; she was raised with just a halter and a bareback pad.  By riding bareback, Tanzi was taught cues with seat and legs to transition gaits and many other maneuvers.  Tanzi is a very loving and calm horse and has handled riders as young as 3 years of age.  Katrina worked with her and after a year and a half the duo rode at state and national drill competitions with the Unbridled Spirit Drill Team.  Katrina now rides Tanzi for the simple enjoyment and pleasure of riding a horse.  When Katrina left for college, she wanted Tanzi to be somewhere where she would be loved.  "Tanzi is the most special thing in my life.  By bringing here to the Saddle Light Center, I hope that she will be as special to her riders and make a connection with them, just like she did with me," said Katrina.

 

    Nike

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    Nike is a top Western Pleasure stallion born in Hastings, Minnesota.  He  was a Youth horse who helped win many state titles in APHO and Pinto registry.  He is a very friendly horse and has a very calm temperament.  Nike is the type of horse that you can show one day and go trail riding on the next.  The owner did not want him to go to just any owner, and asked the Saddle Light Center if he might be a good fit for the program.  She hopes he provides many years of joy to the riders, just as he did for her.

      Max

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      Our new pony arrived on Monday, March 13th  Max is a Welsh-type pony who is in his early twenties and retired from giving pony rides.  He will be job sharing with Sonny D for our younger and smaller riders.

        Jazz

        Jazz

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        Please welcome Jazz to the Saddle Light barn.  He arrived 6/20/14 upon the passing of his former owner, Debbie Sexauer, and donated to us by her Brother.
        Born in 2000, Jazz is a 14 year old Quarter Horse type who took very good care of Debbie for casual riding around the stable as well as organized trail rides.

          Sydni

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          Sydni is a 16 year old grade paint mare who joined our herd in September 2014.  She came to us from Marcos Stables in San Antonio, where she had been recently outgrown by her young owner after several years of English riding and jumping.

            King

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            King was born 1993 and used for Mexican rodeos and trail riding. He is a Quarter Horse type but not registered. Current owner bought King when he was 5 and used him for trail riding. She used King as a lead line mount for her nephew for the last 12 years. That nephew is now a Saddle Light Center client and King has come to join him in the program.

              Kai

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              Kai  Otoes Yella Kai (Kai) is a Registered Palomino Quarter Horse from a long line of winning Palomino and Roan Performance Quarter Horses. Kai was born in Missouri 05/28/2003, and came to San Antonio in 2005 after being purchased as a barrel racing prospect and trail horse. After five years as a Western Pleasure and Trail Horse, Kai joined The Saddle Light Center in August 2011. His smooth gait, calm personality, and love of people make him an excellent match for his future as a therapy horse.

                Cinnamon

                Cinnamon

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                Cinnamon is a Quarter Horse born in 2000.  He loves coffee and sodas, so watch your mugs and cans!  He is very gentle and willing to try new things…pom-poms and plastic bags – not a problem.  He was one year old the first time he was touched by a human and within an hour he was leading and behaving like he had always been around people.

                  Sonny D

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                  Sonny D, a Welsh pony born in 2001 on loan to us from our former barn manager, Lori Hutchinson.  Everyone probably has seen Sunny D’s bright face peeking out as they walk by his stall.  The Center needs a pony of Sunny’s size specifically to help those children just beginning ride on their own and those requiring a little more help from the side walkers.  We are happy to have Sunny D join our horsey team.

                   

                    Schooner

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                    Schooner was born in 1997 and is a 15.1 hand Palomino Quarter Horse who came to us from Austin, TX on January 6, 2007 from Aline Gaubert, a licensed chemical dependency counselor and play therapist. Together since March 2004, they helped people develop a sense of self, overcome fear, improve focus and release stress. Schooner became so popular that he soon had his own mailbag from thankful and appreciative clients who always brought treats for him. He soon learned how to show his appreciation by stretching out his head and neck as far as he could and turn his head sideways. Ms. Gaubert said this was Schooner's way of giving kisses or so visitors would think he was very cute and give him more treats ... you be the judge when you visit him at our stable.

                      Mr. Cool

                      Mr. Cool

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                      Mr. Cool is a very unusual sorrel born in 1997 Thoroughbred who joined the Saddle Light Center in August 2002. Originally destined for the racetrack, Mr. Cool had other ideas about a fast-track career path. After an alternate stint as a jumper, Mr. Cool landed with us and has finally found his calling. Mr. Cool loves being around people and being the center of attention. He’s very gentle and patient with his riders and their equipment, which is very unusual for such a young horse. We know he’s happy and relaxed when he walks around with his ears out sideways, bouncing just a little when he walks. Now that’s a happy horse! We’re very glad he didn’t get all excited about racing or jumping – he knew there was a better career out there for a good-looking’ guy with natural talent.

                        Are you interested in sponsoring one of our amazing therapeutic riding horses for one year?

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