Carousel Therapy Horses is a 501(c)(3)
Your donations are tax deductible. Help us grant wishes,
make memories and bring a little magic into the world.
Gainesville, FL 32635
Rainbow in a
two time Super Bowl champion and Super Bowl MVP quarterback Phil
Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses on stage during his
amazing Broadway show.
Hall of Fame Jockey Mike Smith after winning the
Thank you to Mike Smith for
including Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses in your
supported charities for the 2011 holidays!
"Keep up the wonderful work you do. I often tell
people that Lassie was the first therapy dog--the first to be
allowed in hospitals more than 50 years ago!"
Jon Provost, Appeared as Timmy Martin on Lassie
Annual Halloween Photo Contest! Martha talked about
Gentle Carousel on her website and Twitter. Thank you Martha!
"...Gentle Carousel, you are wonderful, gentle, caring
producer, best selling author, four-time Emmy winner
and activist for children's causes
A photo of
Peanut and Aladdin were on
The Ellen DeGeneres Show
and her website home page.
Who doesn't love Ellen!
movie star Benji working with Magic.
they are doing is just so incredible. They are making a difference. These
people are the real deal. They are down there in the trenches doing it."
film writer, producer, director, bestselling author and man behind canine
THE DUKES OF HAZZARD star Tom Wopat.
at a Boys and Girls Club with
former NFL and University of Florida quarterback Doug
for an Associated Press photo and literacy poster.
was selected a charity partner in Disney's volunteer program "Give a
Day. Get a Day."
"Your Reading Is
Magic program and volunteers are heroes every time they walk
into a school or library. Using little miniature
horses to inspire young children to read is most creative.
Congratulations on your wonderful charity, spirit and
service to your community."
Former Secretary of Education
James Gurney, Best-selling author and
illustrator of the Dinotopia book series.
"Gentle Carousel... Thank you for all of your hard
Joan Lundon, Journalist, author and television host
four-time Olympian and ten-time US Female
Equestrian Athlete of the Year, Karen O'Connor.
Magic with David
O'Connor, president of the United States
Equestrian Federation, Olympic gold medalist and
Pan American Games and World Equestrian Games
"Reading Is Magic!
Every child you inspire to
read is a life forever changed. Thank you for that and for bringing books to
life...It can take you from outer space to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
Either way, the journey is magical.
...Wow. Love those
little horses... Great job you're doing. I'm proud of you."
-Homer Hickam, #1 New York
Times Bestselling author and NASA engineer
"What you have to get across is that these are highly
trained horses. They go into an environment, a situation,
circumstances where only a trained horse such as this can
navigate himself... They seem to have an innate sense of how
to go to the person they are there to comfort."
Ilene Silverman, Executive producer and host of the The
Ilene Silverman Show.
that the use of horses is wonderful for children with
self-regulation and attachment issues (the classic
problems with so many children in the CPS system as you
are aware)...Keep up your work.
Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D.Senior Fellow
The Child Trauma Academy
"...I just wanted to take the opportunity to write you a
letter expressing my amazement with your miracle
miniature horse "Magic". As I read about all the
miraculous things that have happened in her presence, I
was absolutely stunned. It is amazing that despite the
modern marvels of medicine and how much that field has
advanced in my lifetime, that sometimes there remains an
unexplained element to health and recovery that is
covered by miraculous creatures like your horse..."
Senator Steve Oelrich
"Magic and Gentle Carousel, Inspiring children to read is
magical. You are making a difference!"
Chris Soentpiet, Acclaimed children's book author and
(Thank you for the beautiful artwork you donated to help
Gentle Carousel's Reading Is Magic!)
"My own daughter, who has Down Syndrome has been touched by
Magic. I have been able to see first hand what these animals
can do just with my own child...This program benefits so
many different population bases. They can reach the elderly,
the terminally ill, children with developmental
disabilities, children with needs in reading...there are
just so many opportunities to reach so many people in
Lance Block, Chairman for the Governor's
Commission on Disabilities
"What 'Reading Is Magic' does for
kids by going into schools and igniting excitement for reading a
story is beyond compare. Keep the hoof beats going."
Carl Joseph, author and Hall of Fame
"What an honor
and thrill to have Gentle Carousel's Sundance as a riveting
character in JASON AND ELIHU."
Mickle, Award winning author and National Public Radio commentator
for a fan then kisses one of his photos in the novel JASON AND ELIHU
as an autograph.
have a wonderful program. Thank you for bringing joy to children... Keep
reading! It is magic!"
Anna Grossnickle Hines,
Author and illustrator of over 50 children's books.
"...Thank you for all the work you do...Reading is Magic!"
Bestselling author and Newbery Medal Winner
Gentle Carousel's Cloudburst won
Martha Stewart's 2011 Halloween Photo
and also appeared on
People Magazine website.
photo was selected from over 500
national finalists. Photos
and his therapy horse friends
were also on
The Martha Stewart Show
The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Gentle Carousel's Aladdin and Peanut
Coolest Pets Photo Contest
for this photo.
Aladdin was one of
the spooktacular photos selected for
Living Magazine's Halloween Pet Parade!
He also was the winner of the Horses In The Morning
radio show photo contest.
Peanut makes news around the world, heads for Lake City
|Peanut, one of Gentle Carousel's miniature therapy horses, arrives in costume with Ronald at a special Ronald McDonald House Charities event. Peanut was included in UK's 'The Daily Mail' and 'The Telegraph' last week. She also managed to be in the news in China and Iraq. Peanut's little friend, Magic, is featured in 'In Touch Weekly' this week. Next for Peanut, Magic and Gentle Carousel is a project with Disney to help terminally ill children and a visit with children at Happy House in Lake City. Click on the photo to visit Gentle Carousel.
Aladdin smiling during a television interview at the Sidney
Costume photos in
UK's The Daily Mail
My little ponies: The adorable miniature horses providing therapy for children in need
Standing at just 19 inches tall, these horses are not only the smallest in the world, they also appear to be the kindest.
Real-life 'My Little Ponies', Rainbow, 3, Peanut, 2, are just two of the group of miniature horses providing therapy for children in need.
Debbie and George Garcia-Bengochea from Gainsville, Florida, run Gentle Carousel, one of the world's only mini-horse therapy organisations.
Healing horses: The miniature ponies are part of the Gentle Carousel, one of the world's only mini-horse therapy organisations
After realising the therapeutic benefits of playing with mini horses when they took on foster children themselves, the couple now use their tiny herd of tame horses to bring joy to the lives of other foster children as well as those who are homeless, have suffered abuse or are critically and even terminally ill.
Debbie said: 'These horses can't cure, but they can make a child, and their family, very happy and create wonderful memories.
Good cause: After realising the therapeutic benefits of playing with mini horses, the couple that run the centre now use them to bring joy to the lives of foster children as well as those who are homeless, have suffered abuse or are critically or terminally ill
We took the horses to a camp for children who've suffered with cancer. Magic went up to one of the little boys and rested her head against his.
'We were told later that he had just found out his cancer had returned. She finds the people who need her the most.'
Unlike Guinness World Record-holding horse, Thumbelina, who at 17-iches suffers from a condition called dwarfism - Debbie and George's mini horses are fully grown.
But their small size does not stop these brave horses from being pillars of their community - they even fight crime, with their horse, Magic being named in CNN's list of Ten Most Heroic Animals.
The Gentle Carousel horses are also brought to disabled patients to brighten up their day
'Recently there was a stabbing and the head of the police department asked if Debbie could take Magic and her friends to the neighborhood to visit the victim at home,' said George.
'Everyone came out of their houses when they saw the horses walking down the street.
'It changed the relationship between the police and the community for the better and helped them with the investigation.'
Little and large: The miniature horses stand at 19inches tall, the smallest in the world
Debbie and George train the horses from birth, and now breed new therapy horses within their herd.
All their horses run in a paddock and live as a natural herd. Their therapeutic roles are rotated so they 'work' only one day a week.
'They're job is just to go out and love people and get loved,' said Debbie.
'They're magic is that they're always in the right place at the right time.'
Tiny horses and little children perform 'Fritz and the
Beautiful Horses' for Reading Is Magic program
By Karl Burkhardt
Nathalie Haden (left), Kelsey Haden and
Ebony Jones pet Aladdin (white horse) and
Peanut after the Gentle Carousel
presentation in the Main Branch of the
Columbia county Public Library. (LakeCityJournal.com
Magic (black horse) and Aladdin show off
their formal attire for the visitors and the
volunteer townspeople in Fort White
Community Center Friday morning. (LakeCityJournal.com
Three tiny horses, dressed in formal attire, brought a live
Fritz and the Beautiful Horses to
standing-room-only crowds in Fort White and Lake City
Peanut, the smallest horse in the world at 21
inches tall, had the lead role, supported by Magic and
Aladdin and eight children from the audiences.
Four children at each performance played the townspeople,
bowing to the regally dressed Magic and Aladdin. This tiny
chorus of townspeople spoke in unison.
Peanut, the horse that was not considered to be
beautiful, sadly stayed outside the town.
All this changed when a hero was needed and Peanut rushed
to the rescue. The cheering townspeople dressed Peanut in
finery and paraded him around the audience.
A meet-the-cast party followed the performance, as soon
and the little horses exchanged their acting costumes for
casual dress – Hawaiian shirts.
Then it was all hugs and kisses, giggles and laughter as
children lined up to greet the stars and pose for photos.
This is Gentle Carousel, a non-profit organization that
takes the miniature horses to hospitals and nursing homes to
bring cheer and laughter to patients – young and old –
giving them and their families special moments to remember.
The program has expanded to encourage children to read
Reading Is Magic.
After each performance, the children are asked if they
have library cards. Virtually all the children without
library cards suddenly want one and they want to read the
featured book or one from a list,
Reading Is Magic
Favorite Book List. Copies of the list are available at
The performances on Friday were at the Fort White
Community Center and the Main Branch of the Columbia County
Public Library. Friends of the Columbia County Public
Library sponsored the events.
For more information and a gallery of beautiful and
inspiring photographs, visit
Horse of The
Month : Little
only 14" tall at
birth (a tie for
born). He is two
years old now
and is still
very tiny, but
normal in every
way. He may be
small but he has
a big heart.
Rainbow is a
member of Gentle
He works as a
homes and with
hospice care. He
also works with
at risk and
From a magical
tea party for a
child with a
working as part
of the treatment
process inside a
his special love
where it is
Rainbow is able
to walk up and
yes he is potty
libraries and at
as part of
Reading Is Magic
will have his
including a two
page feature in
star Benji (the
star of the film
Benji Off The
Leash) and film
author and man
Camp. Benji and
filmed for a
with the stars
month with his
also a Gentle
was selected the
Most Heroic Pet
In America by
from the mayor.
worked with a
in high crime
areas of his
city. He is a
horse that has
willing to try
Read more about
little horses in
Aladdin makes friends with a veteran from
Easter Seals Florida at
History in miniature at O'Leno State Park Literacy Day
|Aladdin (left) and Peanut, in full literary costume, visit with children at O'Leno State Park Literacy Day.
|Miniature horses and history and Native American traditions featured at Literacy Day at O'Leno State Park
|Wakanda, a one-year-old pinto, shows off the designs painted by children at Literacy day.
|A special book about a painted pony inspired a boy to read at Literacy Day.
Five tiny horses brought a special program to O'Leno State Park Literacy Day, featuring children's books written and illustrated by Native Americans
“We did two hours of programs with five horses, including our new Gift Horse/Native Americans and Horses program that included painting on Pintos,” said Debbie Garcia-Bengochea of Gentle Carousel Therapy Horses.
“The children had fun painting the traditional symbols on the horses -- who washed up very well after the program,” she said.
Our new therapy horse in training, Cloudburst, made his first public appearance as one of the pintos and was a park ranger favorite!
Families could enter the park on Literacy Day free if they donated a new or lightly used book.
All of the children's books donated were given to Gentle Carousel to give to children at Happy House in Lake City. Gentle Carousel will visit Happy House on a regular schedule.
Gentle Carousel began as a therapy-horse program, visiting children’s hospitals, Hospice and nursing homes. The tiny horses bring joy to patients and take their attention away from their medical challenges.
A reading program followed, matching horses with those in books. Debbie and Jorge Garcia-Bengochea have acquired a variety of miniature horses that look just like the literary characters in books, such as “Run with the Wind,” “Black Beauty” and “Year of the Black Pony.”
To see all of the animals and learn more about Gentle Carousel, visit www.Horse-Therapy.org
a GTN Extra feature story with GTN News Director Myra Monroe.
Peanut in a UF cheerleader costume and Wakanda in a UF
football costume with University of Florida Hall Of Fame
football player and 12 season NFL player (currently with
the Atlanta Falcons) Mike Peterson. The horses
helped at a Peterson Foundation charity event along with
Aladdin dressed as a referee.
costume in In Touch Weekly.
Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses at ROCK (Reaching Out to
Cancer Kids) Camp party with Florida Gator football players.
Carousel helping with the "Camelot" theme for ROCK (Reaching
Out To Cancer Kids) Camp.
Peanut on the
gives her own interview on the news.
Aladdin and Banner on the news at the sheriff's office.
Carousel Therapy Horses is a 501(c)(3)
donations are tax deductible.
something about the outside of a horse that is good for the
inside of a man." ~Winston Churchill
Gainesville, FL 32635