Gentle Carousel Miniature Horses

A unique organization of tiny ambassadors

Article by Angela Durrell and Lacey Weber

Photography by Showcase Properties of North Central Florida

Originally published in Gainesville City Lifestyle

With almost 25 years of providing comfort and companionship for survivors of trauma, illness, and natural disasters, Gentle Carousel Miniature Horses is a unique organization of tiny ambassadors. As one of the largest equine therapy organizations in the world, they work with first responders, law enforcement, church organizations, Veterans groups, FEMA, hospice and educational facilities all over the country. They also make countless visits to hospitals to visit kids fighting and recovering from deadly diseases or injuries. 

Mental health is health, and psychological wellness directly impacts the physical. So it’s crucial to the body's well-being as much as any other medicine. The positive impact of these little horses is both observable and immeasurable.  

“If you’re around animals, you know they’re inspirational,” says Debbie Garcia-Bengochea, Education Director for Carousel. “Just getting people out, walking with the horses and enjoying some fresh air is a big deal -- especially for the children. It’s so important for their stimulation and mental health. That has a huge impact on treatment and recovery.” 

The organization is a 501C3 non-profit charity that operates with funds from donors to support education, literacy, and therapy programs; their latest book, “Mini Horse, Mighty Hope” is in stores and available on Amazon. Proceeds go to the care and needs of the horses. 

“You can’t always fix things, but you can help make them easier,” Garcia-Bengochea says. “You can give them a happy moment or day, and you’d be amazed at what that alone can do.” 

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