you get your horses to do what they do?
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
Our horses need
to feel comfortable in new situations and adapt to
sounds and sights that would frighten most of their equine friends.
producer, director, bestselling author and man behind the canine
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:
star Benji takes Magic inside City Hall to meet the mayor as
documentary filmmakers work on a movie.
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
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
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.
children meet our therapy horses for the first time they
immediately feel the gentleness, calm spirit and confidence.
Horse Illustrated Magazine
Stardust at one hour old.
"imprinting" process of a Gentle Carousel
begins at birth.
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.
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.
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
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
American Miniature Horse Association's Photo Contest
Miniature Horse World
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
training journey begins...