The therapeutic qualities of animals are well documented. Today we’ll learn more about Personal Ponies, a program that matches special needs children with UK Shetland Ponies, in this edition of Pet Pointers.
From the elderly to those learning to read, animals can help us feel rejuvenated or help us focus and programs across the country enlist the help of a variety of animals, including ponies.
Personal Ponies is a 100 percent volunteer organization that harnesses pony power to help special needs individuals by matching them with UK Shetland ponies that will quickly become new friends.
“When we place ponies with special needs families, we do an extensive interview and application process to see what their expectations are of having a pony join the family. It depends on the child’s age and needs. These ponies are meant to be companions, they can be ridden or driven, but their main job is to be a companion to a child who will benefit,” said Marcia Knapp.
These petite ponies are bred for personality as well as size, some as small as 24 inches high, but most average around 36 inches. Personal Ponies also have forever homes and are never sold. They are lovingly cared for by volunteers like Knapp and many live into their 30s.
Since the 1990s, Personal Ponies has matched hundreds of children and families with specially bred UK Shetland ponies and hopes to continue their mission, bringing smiles as only a pony can.
If you would like to learn how you can help or know a child who may benefit from getting involved in Personal Ponies, visit www.personalponies.org .