It's not every day that a couple of little horses, this particular pair named Cisco and Dare, are allowed to walk into the Bachman Lake Branch Library in northwest Dallas. They visited Tuesday morning because it’s the kind of work an ambassador just has to do.
The mini horses, no more than 36 inches tall, are mini-ambassadors for the equine therapy organization called Equest. And they are in high demand, teaching city kids about horses and maybe making them want to learn more about them. Jen Donahue says librarians and teachers often encourage kids to read about horses in advance of and after the mini horse visit.
“The reinforcement with the live animals actually helps encourage people to read,” said Donahue.
"I like that we got to pet them, and we got to walk them,” said 7-year-old Braelynn Gomez after she and other children got to take the horses outside and lead them up and down the sidewalk leading to the library front entrance.
"I thought it was really nice that they brought them because I wasn't expecting them," Gomez said.
The mini horses also help spread the word about Equest and its programs at the Texas Horse Park. A variety of programs and a variety of mini and full-size horses help people with disabilities and veterans struggling with PTSD find peace, solace, and therapy with the help of a calm reassuring friend. The ultimate goal of the Equest Mini Ambassador Program is to help people of all ages learn about the unique healing bond between humans and horses.
As for the docile Cisco and Dare, Braelynn didn't know they'll never get more than 36 inches tall.
“Yeah, that was weird,” the 7-year-old said.
She does know why she can't take one home. “It poops,” she laughed.
Yes, but even the world's most successful ambassadors have to do that too.
The mini ambassadors may be coming soon to a library near you.
- June 27: 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Renner Frankford Branch Library at 6400 Frankford Rd. in Dallas
- July 11: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Fretz Park Branch Library at 6990 Belt Line Rd. in Dallas
- July 25: 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Preston Royal Library at 5626 Royal Lane in Dallas