GAIT 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
Horse Sponsorship Program
GAIT maintains a herd of seven very special horses, each unique and with specific needs. Providing for the herd is expensive, and GAIT’s Horse Sponsorship Program helps to offset the high costs of vet care, farrier visits, basic necessities, and individual needs. The cost of sponsorship is $2000/year.
There are a couple of ways to sponsor one of our horses.
#1 You can sponsor a horse outright for $2000 for the year. This covers the cost of food and routine medical care. You will receive updates, on the horse you sponsor, throughout the year and the opportunity to meet and greet him/her. You will receive a photo of the horse and a personalized thank you gift, suitable for display. You will also receive the benefits of GAIT’s Gold Membership: name recognition (newsletter, webpage, social media), GAIT cap, invitation to members-only event, early access to invitations for GAIT sponsored events.
#2 You can form a partnership with others to reach the $2000 sponsorship level. The organizing partner will receive a GAIT cap. All the sponsors will be recognized as stated above and the partnership can schedule a time to be photographed with the horse. The sponsors will also receive the other benefits listed above.
If you have any questions, feel free to call Jan at GAIT 570-409-1140.
“Kings Boy Laddie”
Born: Circa 2005
Laddie is a thoroughbred (TB) that came to GAIT in 2021 at the age of 16. He has a striking blaze, that adorns his face, with a personality to match. In the barn he is a gentleman and a scholar, well versed in the ways of human expectations. Out with the herd, Laddie is ready to rumble and is often the first horse to start a round of the zoomies, when all the horses start kicking up their heels and running around.
TBs tend to be more energetic, sensitive, and quick witted. Although known for racing, they also excel in the show ring, competing in the English disciplines such as dressage, eventing, and hunter/jumpers. In the western disciplines, they are popular as barrel racers.
Because of their sensitive nature, TBs, like Laddie, are also the perfect horse for centers such as GAIT, especially our veteran’s program. Because of his keen awareness of the participant’s energy, Laddie helps Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy participants to learn more about themselves through his reactions to them as they work toward forming a partnership. Laddie also works in Adaptive Riding (formerly called Therapeutic Riding) and provides a willing, long stride for the rider.
Laddie has moved around a lot in his life but seems happy to call GAIT his home.
“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.
The Haflinger breed is thought to have originated in the Tyrolian Mountains of Austria, dating as far back as 555 A.D. They were developed for mountainous terrain and were selectively bred for their sturdy confirmation, strong hind end, being surefooted, and, most notably, their gentle dispositions. Relatively small, Haflingers are known for their golden chestnut coloring, flaxen mane and tail, and their distinctly energetic, yet smooth, gaits. This versatility has allowed this breed of horse to excel in many different jobs such as: farming/ plowing, trail/pack horse, wagon pulling, competitive horse shows and events, military use, and therapeutic riding.
The Austrian description of Haflingers as “a prince in the front, a peasant behind,” suits RJ as he embodies all of the physical qualities and easy personality of a typical Haflinger pony, which is why he was chosen to become a member of the GAIT herd and family.
“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.
Tennessee Walkers were bred as a utility horse to adapt to a variety of riders and styles of riding. Tennessee Walkers are gaited horses because of an additional gait that was bred in to them called a “running walk.” The running walk is an extra-smooth gait that gives the rider a feeling of gliding through the air.
Here at GAIT we look for horses that have something really special to offer our riders- whether it is through size, personality, or movement. With Montana, we found all of those things. Formerly a field horse, Montana was expected to carry equipment, a rider, and the occasional dog while out on dog training exercises, and was such a steady mount that he became the horse of choice to bring back the dogs. As a therapeutic horse, this quality instills confidence in his riders as he patiently does whatever is asked of him. Standing at 14.3 hands, Montana’s loving personality, docile temperament, and smooth gaits make him a great addition to the GAIT family.
Breed: Icelandic Horse
Born: On or before 1992
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.
Iceland’s only breed of horse is known for their rich history, sure-footedness, and displaying two gaits in addition to the typical walk/ trot/ canter. The “tolt” is a four- beat lateral ambling gait, comparable to the running walk of the Tennessee Walking Horse. The “flying pace” is a two-beat lateral gait used over short distances and capable of reaching speeds up to 30 mph. Despite being “pony sized” at an average of 13-14 hands tall, breed registries have always referred to Icelandics as “horses.” Theories suggest this is due to their spirited temperament and big personalities, while others credit their strength, stamina, and longevity.
True to his breed’s characteristics, Little Bear proves that greatness comes from within. Born in New Hampshire, he participated in 4H events, gymkhana, obstacles, and competitive trail riding. His versatility, confidence, and experience have made him an asset to GAIT in providing therapeutic services.
“Slam Hanover” aka “Sandman”
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.
The Standardbred is a true American horse that was bred for harness racing as trotters or pacers; two distinctly different gaits. Most Standardbreds can be traced back to “Hambletonian,” the fastest trotting horse in the mid- 1800’s. This breed is so named for setting the “standard” of racing a mile in 2.15 minutes (for three year olds) to 2.20 minutes (for two year olds), or less.
Although not much is known about Slam’s past, the brand on the right side of his neck suggests that he may have raced during some point in his life. Slam moved several times in his life before being introduced to the GAIT in August, 2013. He is a smart horse and took to his new job as a therapeutic horse willingly and with ease. His smooth yet forward-moving walk gives riders a sense of fast movement through space without any fear of being rocked off balance. Slam seems to like his new job, and we are very happy to have him here at GAIT!
“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.
The Gypsy Vanner is a small draft horse developed by the Romani/ Gypsy people in Great Britain and Ireland after WWII and was largely unknown to the outside world until their “discovery” in the mid 1990’s. Named for the “caravans” they pulled, Gypsy Vanners were strictly bred for their strength and docile nature. The nomadic lifestyle of the Gypsies required horses that were easy keepers, hard workers, calm in any situation, and gentle enough for children.
Breeze was donated to GAIT by Lexlin Gypsy Ranch, located in Tennessee, through their Gypsy Gift Facebook Contest. There were 80 PATH Intl. member centers were nominated to win one of 20 selected Gypsy Vanner horses. Through the outstanding support of the community and abroad during this two month long contest, GAIT won 2nd place with 26,272 votes! Breeze was described by Lexlin as “forward moving and eager to work” and was one of two horses offered who had already been trained under saddle. Her experience with basic training on the trail and arena, participating in leadership programs, and maturity made her the perfect pick for GAIT!
“My Cuppa Joe”
Breed: Quarter Horse Type
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.
The American Quarter Horse is arguably the most popular horse in the United States and is the largest breed registry in the world. The breed was named for its ability to run faster than a Thoroughbred for a quarter of a mile and became a staple working horse on cattle ranches. This iconic horse of the Old West is best known for its versatility, athleticism, and above all dependability. Joey is no exception, as his strong build and sesnsible temperament is the embodiment of his breed.
Joey previously lived at Mosefund Farm in New Jersey, where he was utilized as a lesson horse. His former owner and staff at Mosefund described him as “a good egg,” as he was a barn favorite and their go-to horse for lessons. Whether he was helping a new rider to learn the basic or teaching an experienced rider to jump, Joey was a confident and willing partner his riders could depend on. These very qualities, as well as his strong build and experience as a lesson horse, make him a perfect fit for GAIT. Joey has easily transitioned into GAIT’s therapeutic riding program and quickly became a favorite among participants and volunteers.
In Loving Memory
“Mamie’s Boy Patrick”
June 6, 1994–September 3, 2023
“Jimmers Rhinestone” aka “Cheyenne”
May 28, 1996–March 27, 2023
GAIT’s Rolling Thunder
May 7, 2019-August 1, 2022
Circa 1998-November 5, 2021
Pikos Peppy Girl
January 15, 1996-May 23, 2020
April 8, 1990-March 26, 2018
HH Habiel Tigre
May 17, 1984-August 14, 2015