Frequently Asked Questions



         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"


What is Gentle Carousel's Reading Is Magic program?

Real horses inside a library or classroom is always a magical experience. 



  Gentle Carousel with the help of "Magic" and friends bring tiny horses inside schools, libraries and at-risk youth programs to inspire young readers.



 The horses in Gentle Carousel's award winning Reading Is Magic program look like the horse characters in loved children's books.



 Gentle Carousel's Reading Is Magic program provides books, family reading lists, author book signings, author signed books and posters (including Newbery Medal and Honor winners), photography, educational coloring books, bookmarks, certificates, posters, lesson plan ideas, enrichment activities and book readings with our horses.



Young children who have rich language and literacy experiences are less likely to have difficulties learning to read.



Gentle Carousel horses worked with over 4000 adults and children in 2009.  Over 1200 children attended the Reading Is Magic summer program in 2009.  




    Reading Is Magic's summer program will expand to seven more counties in 2010.  Research shows that children who do not continue reading through the summer can lose a month or more of progress made during the school year.



Gentle Carousel's Reading Is Magic program encourages children and their parents to read together, teachers to read to their students and children to be inspired to read their own books.   



In order to participate in the school program, teachers must commit to read books from the Reading Is Magic Book List to their students everyday.  When students finish books, the horse “characters” visit the classrooms, bringing books to life.



The children who were read to at least three times a week by a family member were almost twice as likely to score in the top twenty-five percent in reading than children who were read to less than three times a week. - National Institute for Literacy



    Reading Is Magic has a special focus on struggling or at risk readers.  Poor readers are at increased risk for dropping out of school, substance abuse, delinquency and poverty.



The opportunity to inspire a love of reading in children of all ages is an honor and a great responsibility.





Who supports Gentle Carousel's Reading Is Magic?

 Gentle Carousel 's Reading Is Magic is a 501(c)(3) non profit public charity.  Donations are tax deductible.  Reading Is Magic depends on individual donations, grants, fundraising events and corporate sponsors to continue this important work.

There are no paid staff positions.  An amazing team of volunteers assist during Reading Is Magic programs, find sponsors for books, help with photography, work on the website, print materials, transport, train and care for these special horses and make the magic happen.


Every $1 invested in quality early childhood care and education saves as much as $7 by increasing the likelihood that children will be literate, employed and less likely to be school dropouts, dependent on welfare or arrested. Data compiled by the Florida School Boards Association 2004-2005.





How small are Gentle Carousel Reading Is Magic horses?


Gentle Carousel has some of the smallest miniature horses in the world.  Most are only 23-27 inches tall.


  Rainbow was only 14 inches tall at birth and is 18 inches tall as an adult.  Milky Way weighed only 9 pounds at birth (he was a twin).


  While a larger, more powerful horse may seem very daunting to a young child, a child who has not spent time with animals or someone with a disability, an instant bond seems to form with our Reading Is Magic horses.


Small horses do have an advantage moving around classrooms and libraries!



How are Gentle Carousel horses trained?

Learning the skills needed to work inside libraries and schools takes at least two years and there is always something new to experience.  Our horses learn to walk up and down stairs, ride in elevators, walk on unusual floor surfaces and carefully move around desks and classroom equipment.



 They must be calm in the most challenging situations and trust their handlers completely when something unexpected happens.  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. 


  A well trained Gentle Carousel horse is walked into City Hall by canine movie star Benji during the filming of a documentary about our program.


 Important note - Just because someone has a miniature horse does not mean that they have a horse that should come indoors!  Taking a horse indoors that has not been properly trained and insured (even a miniature horse) to visit children or the elderly is irresponsible in our opinion.

We receive many requests each day for help regarding legal issues... how to start a program like ours,  how to file for a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, insurance questions, tax questions,   We cannot give legal advice.  We get our own advice from the attorneys and accountants that we work with.

We also receive many calls from people looking for employment.  Gentle Carousel is an all volunteer program so there are no paid employment opportunities.


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


Are Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses insured?

A visit from "Flame" The Island Stallion.

Gentle Carousel's horses are insured for all visits and programs. 

Safety is our top priority and that is why we are so careful with the selection and training of our horses. 





Do Gentle Carousel Therapy Horses live indoors?


Gentle Carousel horses love to be with people, but they also need time to relax and just be horses.  When their  halters come off, they know that they are off duty.


 Horses are herd animals and need time to be with the other horses that they trust. They do not like to be alone and they would not be happy living indoors.  When they are off duty they are with their little herd and when they come in at night they are always with a friend.




Where do you find horses for Reading Is Magic?


Horses selected for Gentle Carousel's Reading Is Magic program must look exactly like the characters in popular children's books and have the same qualities as a therapy horse (many work in both programs).  We have searched for and purchased horses from one side of the country to the other.  Brighty and Splash are from California,  Circus is from Texas, Flame is from Georgia, Feather is from get the idea.  It is very difficult to find the perfect match for a book and the perfect personality in one horse. 

Each Reading Is Magic horse has their own webpage so you can learn more about the special members of our program.



What Happens On A Reading Is Magic Visit?

Gentle Carousel's Reading Is Magic program at Head Start.


 Every visit is different.  Gentle Carousel adapts the program to the age and abilities of the students attending.  We work with each school or library to best meet the needs of each child.




How can I help Gentle Carousel's Reading Is Magic?

Consider sponsoring your favorite horse.



  Ask your friends, your work place or an organization that you belong to if they would like to sponsor a Reading Is Magic horse or a Gentle Carousel program.  We try to help as many children as possible but with your support we can do so much more.



Who is Rainbow?

Rainbow is a very, very tiny miniature horse.  He was only 14 inches tall at birth and now is 18 inches tall. 



Rainbow has an amazing personality and will be the star of an upcoming children's book published by Wild Onion Press. Wild Onion Press publishes books featuring children with various physical differences. Their philosophy is that a physical difference is not a disability, it is merely an outstanding characteristic.



Who is Magic?

Magic is the original "magic" of the Reading Is Magic program and our goodwill ambassador.  She is so popular and receives so many requests for visits that she has an understudy named Music. 

Magic was selected Most Heroic Pet in America by AARP.

Magic has been on television many times and even in radio stations.  She loves spending time with  children.


Who is Sundance?

   Sundance is the star of the the popular children's novel JASON AND ELIHU by best selling author Shelley Fraser Mickle.  Sundance will make personal appearances in 2010.

   Several photos of Sundance appear in the book.  Sundance's outgoing personality was captured in the story including his love of peppermints and his talent for smiling.

 A portion of the proceeds of this book is being donated to Florida's foster care prevention programs.

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



Who is Baxter?


That is not a horse!  You are right... it's Baxter.  Baxter is a Selkirk Rex cat with curly hair. 


Baxter is also part of Gentle Carousel's Reading Is Magic program.  Baxter looks like the characters in his favorite books too! 


  Baxter loves Magic and is currently working on his horseback riding skills.

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