Meet Our Therapy Horses
Horse Repurposing Program
Equine Partnership Program is dedicated to giving misfit horses the opportunity to find a new purpose. Different than traditional rescue situations, these horses come to EPP no longer suitable in their careers for a variety of reasons.
Consider the show jumper who does not have the athletic ability to complete at a high level. Or who finds the show ring terrifying. And consider the family horse who the children outgrow. Or who is not pretty enough. Rarely do people wonder, what happens to these horses? Were they given a choice in their career in the first place? Can they be redeveloped to have a new meaningful job?
EPP has taken the time to address these hard questions and does the work necessary to rehabilitate these horses. As experienced horsemen, EPP professionals are lucky to take in these misfit horses, discover their individual strengths, and recognize their potential to excel in caring for others. The horses, coming from all different walks of life, are given an otherwise silenced voice and the opportunity to find a job that they love as a therapy partner.
Horse Spotlight: One We Will Never Forget
Sid, a giant, gray Quarter Horse gelding born in 1998, was a longtime and extremely influential member of the EPP herd. He crossed the rainbow bridge in 2020 yet in therapy his story still greatly impacts the lives of many EPP clients. This stunning show horse boasted an impressive amount of wins and was every rider’s dream. Moreover, in his years of retirement from showing, he was a trusted therapy partner for so many who remember him today.
Years ago, Sid was taken in as a sales prospect. At only seven years old and in top physical condition with an outstanding show record, meeting Sid was like meeting an immensely popular supermodel. It was clear that he was a very special, well trained horse who genuinely wanted to make his person happy. After his very first uncomplicated ride, to merely stretch his legs, unfathomably Sid collapsed. And in the short time following, it became rapidly apparent that something was gravely wrong that could not be seen from the outside.
Sid's story continues to be instrumental in helping clients with severe depression and suicidal tendencies feel comfortable enough to tell their stories. He showed us that just because you are beautiful on the outside, or winning ribbons, doesn’t mean you aren’t literally killing yourself on the inside with worry and fear.
Sid overcame the odds and inspired dozens of others to do the same.
Vinny, a dark bay Trakehner / Friesian gelding born in 2008 joined the EPP herd as part of the repurposing program. He has had experience in many different areas of the competitive horse world, mostly in Dressage. Vinny was unable to fit in because he much prefers a slow, relaxing lifestyle. He simply does not have the motivation or athletic ability for a grueling schedule and found the work exhausting. After standing for a number of years, Vinny happily has found his niche as a therapy horse and enjoys giving back to his community. He excels in groundwork sessions and is rapidly becoming a barn favorite.
Rory, a bay Miniature Pony mare born in 2012, joined EPP in 2017. She came from a farm in Kansas where she was used as a birthday party and parade pony. While she excelled in this job, her owner wanted a pony that was pretty and to her Rory didn’t fit the bill. Conversely to EPP, she’s perfect. She is the sassiest, most opinionated horse in the herd but once you have her respect you’ve got a friend for life. Her small size and strong desire to be with people makes her a great horse to build confidence and strong relationships.
Flower joined our program in 2018. She is a black Miniature Pony mare born approximately in 2012 rescued from a feedlot. She was found in a crowded, dirty pen with over 40 standard sized horses and drafts facing great risk every time horses were aggressively rounded up to be taken for sale. Her history is unknown, but her crooked foot provides a potential reason why she was surrendered. Despite her disability and questionable history, she has so much love to give. Like many clients, she can be shy at first but will quickly warm up to anyone willing to work with her. Her sweet personality and ability to help clients open up to a therapeutic relationship make her an ideal match for many new clients.
Rory and Flower
Bart, a dark bay Trakehner gelding born in 2001, came to EPP in 2018. He is originally from Germany but came to Colorado early in his life and travelled the Midwest competing as a Hunter Jumper with numerous riders. It became evident that he was no longer happy with his job when he began reacting poorly to jumping and trainers assumed he was an unwilling, “bad” horse. He returned to his owner and she took the time to explore his health as a potential reason for his hesitation. Upon evaluation, it was discovered that he had an impacted tooth causing him great pain and an inability to balance. By refusing to jump, he was in fact protecting his rider since he could not balance for the landing. Once healed, he did not return to the show world because he had found another calling. He is a kind, gentle and personable horse making him a wonderful therapy partner for our senior participants. His big heart, protective instincts, and history of being misunderstood helps many clients connect with him.