Mini Angel Eyes of Scottsdale, Arizona began five years ago with equine visitations to those in need and received their nonprofit status 2 years ago. The mission of MAE is to provide opportunities by bringing horses to the spirit of the wounded so that they too believe they can have hope for the future, a moment in time to begin a new journey without discrimination for any circumstance.
Like many of us who start a nonprofit, we do so because we see an essential necessity that we aspire to provide. For me, it was the opportunity to rescue minis in need, give them a job, allow other mini owners to join our mission and in return let the minis give a voice to those who couldn’t speak, courage to those who aren’t able to step up and motivation to others to get out of bed and walk.
It has long been proven that animal assisted interventions that are goal oriented, structured interventions that intentionally incorporate animals in health, education and human service for therapeutic gains improves overall health and wellness. At MAE we have seen countless times through animal assistance, the child who can tell their horrific story in a courtroom, or in an interview to the miniature horse when they don’t trust adults. By using the miniature horse as a mirror, we see the building of trust and the boundaries of learning life skills.
Not many are able to describe or explain what happens to a person when a horse walks into a room, especially a mini.
Currently, MAE is home to six minis, all rescued from different situations such as starvation, abuse or neglect. Three of them are working teams, two of them are in training to become therapeutic horses and one is retired.
Age and height are not a factor in determining if the mini becomes a therapeutic horse. It’s up to them if they want to do this kind of work. After a period of adjustment all minis are introduced to the possibility of becoming a therapy horse. It is during this time we learn their personality and then decide together whether we continue with their training or find a job more suitable to their liking.
Personality traits are not the only deciding factor in determining if a mini becomes a therapeutic horse. Physical abilities and limitations are also considered. For example, if a mini has a challenge such as arthritis and is not able to go up and down stairs easily, I will make sure they have easy access to the van and not have to go far. This plays a key role in one of our biggest obstacles, potty training. While each mini is different and tells me in a different way when they need to void, I have found the easiest way to train this biological necessity was by creating a consistent place for them to go in the back of the van by laying down a rubber tray covered with shavings.
Mini Angel Eyes visits facilities and homes serving abused and at-risk children, veterans, hospitals, senior centers and more throughout Scottsdale and the surrounding areas. At MAE our educational and interactive experiences were created not only educate individuals about miniature horses but to promote teamwork, trust and improve motor and communication skills. These programs have proven to be highly successful in lowering blood pressure, reducing depression, increasing teamwork, empathy, trust, and communication, just to name a few.
MAE is 100% volunteer based. Each of our Animal Assisted Therapy teams are trained and certified with Pet Partners Organization. Registration with Pet Partners serves several purposes that include a $2,000,000 comprehensive general liability insurance, guidelines for stringent infection protocols and consistency requiring a team evaluation every two years. Interested volunteers are required to attend Pet Partners courses to become registered miniature horse handlers and animal assistants.
Not many are able to describe or explain what happens to a person who is rich, poor, broken, abused, neglected, unloved or at-risk when a horse walks into a room, especially a mini. It is magical and changes a life for a moment. There, in that moment begins a new journey. A horse offers healing energy like no other animal. This, is why we do this.
As a Certified Equine Assisted Learning Facilitator and Pet Partners Certified Animal Assisted Therapy Facilitator Mini Angel Eyes services are free of charge to the facilities we serve. All donations made to MAE are used for the care of our minis and securing and maintaining our transportation equipment, ensuring the safety of both our miniature horses and humans which in turn allows us to visit whomever needs some mini love.
If you would like to join Mini Angel Eyes in our mission to touch hearts, one soul at a time through the eyes of our mini angels please visit at www.miniangeleyes.net
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By Joey Ogburn,