Come Meet Sundance!              Books Featuring Our Horses

Frequently Asked Questions


Upcoming Events

Magic Selected Most Heroic Pet In America

READING IS MAGIC in Magazines, Newspapers and on Television

READING IS MAGIC in the Movies


  Canine Movie Star Benji teams up with READING IS MAGIC



READING IS MAGIC Authors and Illustrators

Be A READING IS MAGIC Hero How You Can Help

Links To Sponsors and Friends

Mission Statement

Wish List and Volunteer Opportunities


Photography Contest Winners  featuring READING IS MAGIC Horses

Elephants, Zebras and READING IS MAGIC, Oh My

Magic Horses Poem

Magical Moments Fashion Show

The Magic of Horses 2009 Fundraiser

Buy A Book, Help A Child

Home Sweet Home

Photo Memories

What Is So Special About Horses?

Becoming a Therapy Horse or READING IS MAGIC Horse





   Introducing   CHAPS






























Contact Us

Gentle Carousel's Reading Is Magic is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity.

Your donations are tax deductible. Help bring books to life for children.

Gentle Carousel Inc.

P.O. Box 1672

High Springs, FL  32655

Phone: 352-226-9009

    Magic selected Most Heroic Pet In America. See her in AARP the Magazine.

Gentle Carousel in Woman's World magazine.

Gentle Carousel was selected a charity partner in Disney's 2010 volunteer program "Give a Day. Get a Day."


    What an honor and thrill to have Gentle Carousel's Sundance as a riveting character in JASON AND ELIHU.-Shelley Fraser Mickle

"Your Reading Is Magic program and volunteers are heroes every time they walk into a school or library.  Using little miniature horses to inspire young children to read is most creative.  Congratulations on your wonderful charity, spirit and service to your community."

- Bill Bennett " Former Secretary of Education William J. Bennett


"Reading Is Magic!

Every child you inspire to read is a life forever changed. Thank you for that and for bringing books to life...

...Reading is magic. It can take you from outer space to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Either way, the journey is magical.

 ...Wow.  Love those little horses... Great job you're doing.  I'm proud of you." 

-Homer Hickam

  "To Magic and Gentle Carousel,  Thank you for all of your work.  Helping children read is the greatest magic of all,,,"

- James Gurney,

Best-selling author and illustrator of the Dinotopia book series.  Thank you for the original artwork you created for Reading Is Magic.


Canine movie star Benji working with Magic.

"What they are doing is just so incredible.  They are making a difference. These people are the real deal.  They are down there in the trenches doing it."

 -Joe Camp

  Film writer, producer, director, bestselling author and man behind canine superstar Benji.

"What 'Reading Is Magic' does for kids by going into schools and igniting excitement for reading a story is beyond compare.  Keep the hoofbeats going."

Carl Joseph, Author of SOME CALLED ME

"Magic and Gentle Carousel,

  Inspiring children to read is magical.You are making a difference!"

 Chris Soentpiet - Acclaimed children's book author and illustrator

Presenting a library with one of the signed posters donated by Christ Soentpiet to Reading Is Magic.

Reading Is Magic on television.

"...Thank you for all the work you do.

...Reading is Magic!"

- Linda Sue Park, Newbery Award winner


Author Jessica Burkhart and Magic.

Gentle Carousel,

...Always follow your dreams.  Never let anyone tell you that you can't do something.  Stay positive and stay strong.  You have the ability to make amazing things happen!" Love, Jessica Burkhart 

Author of the Canterwood Crest book series

"Keep up the wonderful work you do...   

Best, Jon " Jon Provost - Appeared as Timmy Martin on Lassie

Magic appearing on The Ilene Silverman Show.


"To Gentle Carousel's Reading Is Magic,

You are making magic everyday with each child you help..."

- Dianne Ochiltree

Magic with four-time Olympian and ten-time US Female Equestrian Athlete of the Year, Karen O'Connor.

Life in the Galloping Lane, O'Connor


Magic with  David O'Connor, president of the United States Equestrian Federation, Olympic gold medalist and Pan American Games and World Equestrian Games medalist.

"To Magic and Gentle Carousel-

 You have a wonderful program. Thank you for bringing joy to children... Keep reading! It is magic!"

-Anna Grossnickle Hines, author and illustrator of over 50 children's books.


"Reading Is Magic,

Thank you for helping children learn to read...

- Michael Storrings"


 How do you get your horses to do what they do? 

That is a question that we are asked everywhere we go.  The quick answer is trust.  When a Gentle Carousel horse arrives for a visit he works with someone that he trusts completely.

  Our horses need to feel comfortable in new situations and adapt to sounds and sights that would frighten most of their equine friends. 


 Film writer, producer, director, bestselling author and man behind the canine superstar BENJI, Joe Camp flew from California to help Gentle Carousel.

  Joe Camp working with Magic.  She is a little horse but responds to Joe the same way as her large equine relatives do.  We are so thankful for the many, many hours Joe devoted to our program and horses as a teacher and friend.

 Like our horses, we are constantly learning.  We recommend Joe Camp's latest best selling book The Soul Of A Horse to anyone who loves horses and wants to learn how they think.  Some other favorites that have influenced the way we work with our horses include:


   Canine movie star Benji takes Magic inside City Hall to meet the mayor as documentary filmmakers work on a movie.

Learning the skills needed to be a Reading Is Magic horse takes at least two years and there is always something new to learn.  The training program is challenging for both horses and handlers.

 Our horses must be able to go up and down stairs, ride in elevators, walk on unusual floor surfaces and carefully move around hospital equipment.  They have even traveled on airplanes!   We never force our horses to do anything.  They are treated with kindness and respect and choose to work with us and have a relationship with us.


Our horses do not feel stressed or fearful in new situations because they have a safe leader to count on.

   Magic did a photo shoot with Luke the elephant for our "Reading Is Magic" program. This is a photo of trust!

  Circus had just met these five barking Dalmatians for the first time and handled the new situation with confidence.  Our horses need to meet unexpected situations with confidence.


When children meet our therapy horses for the first time they immediately feel the gentleness, calm spirit and confidence.



The Beginning


Photo of Stardust from Horse Illustrated Magazine



Stardust at one hour old.

The "imprinting" process of a Gentle Carousel horse begins at birth.

What exactly is foal imprinting?  It is desensitizing Stardust to human interaction immediately upon birth.  During imprinting he is handled by humans before his fight-or-flight instinct kicks in. 

As soon as the foal is born a handler gently touches his gums, teeth, ears, mouth and nose.  She handles the foal's feet, applies gentle pressure to the sides and back, and introduces him to distracting sights and sounds.

The goal is to get Stardust to experience sensations he will experience as a Gentle Carousel horse and accept them at the earliest stage.  We have a relationship with Stardust based on his trust. He feels safe in "our herd" and that herd  includes a human as the leader.

Stardust is introduced to many different textures to walk on including cement, grass, tile and carpet.  He continues to meet new people and animals over the first few days of his life.

The relationship and trust that Stardust has with us is obvious!  His mother watches peacefully because she trusts us too.

This photo of Distant Thunder Stardust On Demand won First Place in the 2008 American Miniature Horse Association's Photo Contest and appeared Miniature Horse World Magazine.

No matter what new sights or sounds he encounters, Stardust knows that we will keep him safe.


Stardust becomes more independent and confident.  He loves running with his horse buddies but is quick to greet his human friends nose to nose... the way horses greet each other.

The training journey begins...



Gentle Carousel's READING IS MAGIC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity.

Your donations are tax deductible.

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man." ~Winston Churchill