GAIT TRC utilizes specially trained horses carefully selected for temperament, soundness, and equilateral movement. Prospective horses donated to the program are thoroughly vetted prior to being accepted on a trial basis.
Horses must be sound at the walk/trot/canter, have good ground manners, be accepting of their environment and riders, have a low flight response, and be able to handle people walking on both sides of them. The ideal height is 13-15 hands; age is usually in the teen years or older. While the work is at a steady pace, not every horse is suited to the challenges presented in a therapeutic setting. Each horse’s health and happiness, as well as the safety of riders and volunteers, are of the utmost importance.
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GAIT maintains a herd of ten very special horses, each unique and with specific needs. Providing for the herd is expensive; GAIT’s Horse Sponsorship Program offsets the high costs of vet care, farrier visits, basic necessities, and individual needs. When you sponsor a GAIT horse, you receive a folder containing a sponsorship certificate, the horse’s photo, and a biography of that horse – plus the satisfaction of contributing to a good cause. You can sponsor a horse for $100/month or $1200/year, but any donation amount would be greatly appreciated.
Breed: Icelandic Horse
Born: Circa 1996
Small in stature with a mighty personality, Little Bear quickly earned his place in the herd after his arrival in the fall of 2016. His gentle demeanor and nearly unflappable disposition instantly endear him to anyone he meets. Eager to please and full of curiosity, Bear is a quick learner and easily adapts to any situation set before him.
“Ebony’s Mountain Pride”
Breed: Tennessee Walking Horse
Born: October 3, 1996
This smooth “walker” will easily capture your heart with his sweet disposition. Energetic and playful, it’s hard to say no to this black beauty. He will gently tease his herd mates in hopes of coaxing them to play. When he’s not playing with his buddies, Rusty and RJ, Montana loves nothing better than to enjoy a good roll after a hard day’s work.
“Mamie’s Boy Patrick”
Breed: Connemara Pony
Born: June 6, 1994
Patrick enjoys the finer things in life: short walks on the beach, and long naps in the sun. Despite his laid back, “West Coast,” nature, Patrick is all business during class and is GAIT’s “go-to” horse for Therapeutic Riding and Hippotherapy. Smart and independent, with a goofy sense of humor, Patrick strives to achieve excellence in all that he does while hoping to instill those same qualities in others.
“My Rocky Joe”
Breed: Haflinger Pony
Color: Flaxen Chestnut
Born: March 31, 2005
RJ is very playful and full of energy. He loves attention and will entice you with his antics and bubbly personality. His curiosity and eagerness to be a part of everything going on around him make him a quick learner. RJ loves to put on a show and “horse around” with his herd mates.
“Slam Hanover” aka
Born: May 23, 1996
Quiet and thoughtful, Slam’s steady and calm demeanor instills trust and confidence in his riders and easily makes him one of the most dependable horses in the barn. His quirky charm and sweet disposition are sure to make you smile. Whether he is gazing dreamily out his stall window or gracefully prancing in the field, it is easy to see that Slam is an innately remarkable horse.
“Breeze of Lexlin”
Breed: Gypsy Vanner
Color: Black Blagdon
Born: July 24, 2010
Breeze is sure to turn heads with her strong stature, flowing mane and tail, “feathery” legs, and blue eyes, but it is her gentle and adaptable nature that draws people to her. She is exceedingly patient, willing to please, and loves to share a cuddle or enjoy a head rub during quiet moments with her humans.
“Jimmers Rhinestone” aka “Cheyenne”
Breed: Quarter Horse
Color: Red Roan
Born: May 28, 1996
Rusty is a sophisticated gentleman with a cowboy’s charm. His strength and sensitivity are sure to warm your heart. His hard-working ethic serves as an outstanding example to the other horses in the barn. Rusty is not just “all work and no play,” however, and he is far from a “dull boy.” He loves to play with his buddy Montana and to enjoy a leisurely lope in the pasture.
“My Cuppa Joe”
Breed: Quarter Horse
Color: Tri-Color Paint
Born: January 1, 1999
Joey stands out in the herd with his good looks and bay/white color (known as skewbald tobiano or tri-colored in the Paint world), but it is his easygoing personality that quickly wins hearts. He is as steady as they come, down to earth, and exceedingly gentle.
Born: Circa 1998- Nov. 5, 2021
“GAIT’s Rolling Thunder”
Breed: Gypsy Vanner/Quarter Horse
Color: Buttermilk Buckskin
Born: May 7, 2019
Thunder was born and raised at GAIT. He is the son of GAIT’s Gypsy Vanner, “Breeze,” and the quarter horse stallion “Who’s Miffelena Dunit.” He is currently in training, perfecting his groundwork and good citizen work and will move on to work under saddle when he is older. He was a joy to watch as a baby and is just as adorable today. He seems to be quite popular with all of the herd. He is looked after by “Uncles” Peter and Joey and is played with by anyone he can convince to join in at the time.
Photos by Dawn J. Benko