Magic

(2007 – )
Owned by Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses
Inducted: 2015

Photos

Sometimes there is magic inside children's hospitals across the country and with families and first responders who have experienced traumatic events, and that magic comes in the form of a little horse. Registered as Strebor Black Magic On Demand, the American Miniature Horse Association that visits over 35,000 adults and children each year is best known as Magic.

"All of the horses from Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses are heroes but therapy horse Magic is the best known little hero," said Jorge Garcia-Bengochea, Magic's trainer and owner. American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) named Magic The Most Heroic Pet in America and TIME magazine honored her as one of the Ten Most Courageous Animals in History. This little horse brings her special love where it is needed most.

Magic always seems to find the person who needs her the most. At Houston's Ronald McDonald House, Piley Tirado, suffering from a disease that robs her bones of calcium, lined up to pet and hug Magic. Piley, along with the other children, had already endured months of hospitalization, and was facing many more, but Magic got Piley thinking about the future when she would no longer be in a wheel chair. "The visits help sick kids feel better, and perhaps heal faster," said Garcia-Bengochea.

"For a town that needs a hero, a hero is on the way." "“ CNN.

In December 2012, the Newtown community sent a request for Magic to visit and comfort the families and first responders impacted by the mass murder of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Magic and a team of her equine friends answered the call and traveled from Florida to Newtown right after the tragedy.

Not expecting more than a handful of people, Newtown's Booth Library arranged a children's program with Magic. Over 600 survivors, siblings, parents and first responders waited patiently in line to visit with Magic. It took almost four hours to meet everyone. "Excitement surrounding the [visit with Magic] seemed like the beginning of a return to normalcy... like a step forward after weeks of grieving." - USA TODAY. Magic's one-week stay was extended to two, and since then she has returned to Sandy Hook several times.

Magic also visits libraries, schools and at risk youth programs with her award winning literacy program, Reading Is Magic. Magic travels to children living in high crime neighborhoods with law enforcement community outreach programs and visits children living in homeless shelters. In May 2013, Magic traveled to Moore, Oklahoma to be with children who survived a massive tornado that killed 24 people, including seven school children.

Working indoors would challenge any horse but Magic makes it look easy. She walks up and down stairs, rides in elevators, walks on unusual floor surfaces, carefully moves around hospital equipment, works in small rooms and handles unexpected sounds like ambulances, alarms and hospital helicopters... and yes she is house trained.

When Magic is not traveling across the country, she has a one of a kind partnership with the University of Florida Health Shands Rehab Hospital in Gainesville, Florida, an acute hospital for patients who have suffered strokes, traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, amputations and burns.

Magic works with occupational, speech and physical therapists as part of the treatment team. She has inspired patients in the therapy gym to reach out their arms for the first time and helped patients who are learning how to use adaptive equipment like walkers and wheelchairs. She even demonstrates rehab training stairs and ramps. Magic has worked with patients who have stood or walked for the very first time since their accidents or surgeries. Therapists have seen exceptional progress and motivation with patients teamed with the little horse.

There's no doubt that Magic has captivated the hearts and strengthened the spirits of thousands. Great things do come in small packages.