Miniature Therapy Horse Brings Smiles Wherever She Goes

Thanks to Annabelle, Sherry is living her dream.

Sherry + Annabelle

Sherry always dreamed of starting a nonprofit organization that offered miniature horse therapy. Today, Annabelle is helping Sherry make that dream come true.

"We practiced walking up and down stairs, moving in small spaces, riding an elevator, and meeting lots and lots of people. Annabelle definitely made people smile."

Miniature horse Annabelle

I love to make people smile. Everyone goes through times in their lives when things are kind of hard (myself included), and I know how much my pets have helped me during my hard times. I had an idea; not just any idea, but a super big idea. I wanted to adopt a miniature horse and train it for therapy, and I also wanted to start a non-profit organization. I’ve always loved horses, and miniature horses are super cute. You can even dress them up in fun outfits and Build-a-Bear tiny shoes! I needed to find a calm and friendly miniature horse to train and begin my program.

I began looking online and found many miniature horses for sale, but the more I looked, I realized that I wanted to adopt a miniature horse from a rescue. I selected the East Tennessee Miniature Horse and Donkey Rescue to begin my search.

Miniature horse Annabelle

I enjoyed seeing all of the many miniature horses at the rescue. There were horses of different colors and sizes. Some were shy and timid, and others were curious and friendly. I carefully visited with each one. There was one little bay pinto who was so friendly! She loved to have her neck scratched and she began following me around the pasture. I think it was love at first sight for both of us! I knew this bay pinto was the mare for me.

Miniature horse Annabelle

I named her Annabelle. She was so smart and curious, and she learned quickly. It wasn’t long at all before I began taking her on trips to Home Depot and Lowes. She loved meeting people in the parking lots! We practiced walking up and down stairs, moving in small spaces, riding an elevator, and meeting lots and lots of people. Annabelle was quick to nuzzle people and she definitely made people smile. It seemed like Annabelle was such a happy little girl that others could feel her joy. Wherever we go together, people want to pet Annabelle and meet her.

Miniature horse Annabelle

It’s been two years now, and I did start my non-profit organization: The Mane Event Equine Therapy. We have grown and now have four therapy horses. We visit children’s hospitals, nursing homes, special education classes at schools, regular education classes, battered women and children’s shelters, and others.

Annabelle has become a favorite with both children and adults and continues to make people smile as she shares her joy wherever we go.

Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Sherry won East Tennessee Miniature Horse and Donkey Rescue in Loudon, Tennessee a 2019 Holiday Wishes award.