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Mini rescue horses bring comfort to people who are suffering

“They can help reduce fear and stress, they lower blood pressure."

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Mini therapy horse wearing a unicorn outfit (Toni Hadad via SWNS)

By Isolde Walters via SWNS

Meet the troop of tiny rescue horses that bring comfort to dementia sufferers, autistic children and patients in hospices.

Peaches, Mr. Buttons, Tonka, Banshee, Charlie and Idaho were saved from auctions, kill pens and neglectful homes by animal-lover Toni Hadad.

The adorable mini horses now trot into hospitals, schools and homes for the deaf and blind, raising spirits as they go.

“They help elderly patients become more responsive and help them feel less lonely.

“They help with depression.

“They can also help treat patients with anxiety, grief, PTSD and addiction.”

Toni Hadad, founder of the nonprofit 'Lifting Spirits Miniature Therapy Horses'

They even don angel wings and unicorn horns to spread cheer among children suffering from cancer and the horses are not averse to taking selfies.

Toni, 54, of Andover, Massachusetts said: “Peaches loves the attention, she is a total diva and she loves taking selfies.

“Mr. Buttons is super chill and he also likes taking selfies, his teeth show and it looks like he is smiling.

“I have wings and unicorn horns custom-made so that when we go into a Ronald McDonald House, the children get to meet a pegasus or a unicorn.

“It really cheers them up.”

The graphic designer started her nonprofit Lifting Spirits in 2017 with two therapy horses.

She now has six mini horses making 150 visits to more than 60 facilities a year.

Toni described how Peaches even soothed parents on the anniversary of their son’s death on 9/11.

“I took Peaches on a visit to an assisted living facility last year,” she said.

“The next day I received an email from a daughter of a patient.

“She told me that she couldn’t put into words how happy Peaches made her parents and added that they are usually very sad that week, as it is the anniversary of their son’s death.”

The tallest of the horses is Tonka, standing 36 inches tall, while little Idaho is the smallest at just 22 inches, weighing just 70lbs.

“My horses are rescues,” Toni said.

“We have saved them from auctions and kill pens where people buy horses for their meat - horse meat fetches 30 to 40 cents a pound in Mexico or China."

Toni Hadad with tiny horse Idaho on the day she got him, October 2019 (Toni Hadad via SWNS)

“Peaches, Idaho and Mr. Buttons are dwarves.

“Horses with the genetic disorder of dwarfism sometimes die at birth, sometimes only last two weeks and some dwarves are born with deformities like twisted legs.

“Peaches could hardly walk on her hind legs when I rescued her.

“We had to do surgery on her legs and she moved into my house, living on my back porch so we could do physical therapy three times a week.

“By April 2019, she was galloping.”

Peaches, two, Mr. Buttons, one, Tonka, 23, and Banshee, 15, are already working therapy horses while Charlie, 15, and Idaho, ten months, are still in training.

Mr. Buttons the mini therapy horse doing anti-bullying work in a school (Tony Hadad via SWNS)

Toni said: “We go to pediatric centers, nursing homes and hospitals.

“We also work with schools for autistic children and special needs kids, homes for the deaf and the blind, VA homes, and Ronald McDonald Houses.

“We do hospice visits and work with schools on their anti-bullying programs.

“Mini therapy horses work the same way dogs do.

“They can help reduce fear and stress, they lower blood pressure.

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