Noble Life

Helping Keeping Therapy Horses Germ Free

Ella Kearns, 5, smiles as she hugs Charlie, a miniature therapy horse, in front of Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children's Hospital Tuesday, June 30, 2015. Charlie's visit was part of a summer fun for young patients and families.  (Chris Clark | Spectrum Health Beat)
(Photo via http://healthbeat.spectrumhealth.org/small-horse-big-smiles/

Charlie is a 2-year old therapy horse that brings joy and smiles to people. But in order to go to various hospitals and nursing homes and spread the horsey cheer, Charlie needs to be completely germ-free and the Noble Outfitters All-Purpose Stall Wash allows him to do just that.

Charlie and his owner Ronica Froese are a registered animal assisted therapy and activities team with Pet Partners. They are also part of their own organization Little Horses Big Smiles that allows them to do many special events and visits. They have been visiting for the past year and a half in West and Central Michigan to various nursing homes, schools, hospitals, assisted living facilities, a brain injury facility, and the Grand Rapids Home For Veterans.

When Ronica first decided to buy a miniature horse she looked into a breed she had no knowledge of. “My property isn’t large enough for a full size horse so to be able to have a horse at my home again would mean a mini was the fit. When I started researching miniature horses, therapy came up online. I was instantly intrigued. I could train my horse to do things that dogs are mostly known for and then share my horse with others. I knew I had to do this. We started nursing home visits in January 2015 when Charlie was a mere 9 months old,” Ronica explains. “Charlie is the most UNIQUE horse I have EVER been around or owned. He has a very loving and pleasing personality. I feel he understands everything I’m saying and knows what I’m thinking. He is fun and loves to make people laugh and smile everywhere he goes. He’s playful and very smart. He’s learned so many tricks and I plan to teach him so many more.”

Grandma, Grandpa and Carlie copy

Dorothy Ann Froese, Charlie’s Great Granny, pictured with her husband Richard at Metron of Cedar Springs

Hospitals nationwide including children’s hospitals are changing their Animal Assisted Activities/Therapy policies to include miniature horses. Their owners must therefore make sure their horses are germ free. Horses have been visiting hospitals for 20+ years but most people don’t know that so the education process and training of the legal and infectious control departments at the hospitals are ongoing and take a lot of time. “Germ-free is very important because one “transfer” of illness to an already sick patient would ruin it for all of us. Charlie is bathed a minimum of 24 hours prior to visit and right now in the summer he’s bathed in the morning on visit days. He is also cleaned over very quickly before going in the facilities,” Ronica explains the process. “We are using the Noble Outfitters All-Purpose Stall Wash. I use this directly on Charlie’s hooves after cleaning to make sure all germs are gone prior to putting on his sneakers to wear inside. I will disinfect his feet and shoes before each visit as well. This wash works great and is completely animal and human safe. I needed something to really prove to my children’s hospital how extreme I am on him being COMPLETELY GERM-FREE and a horse’s hooves are a big concern with infectious control.”


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Comments (2)

  1. Would you be interested in sponsoring me as a team roper I rodeo every weekend around the south east and would be able to bring allot of buissness to you. If you would be interested where can I turn in my application
    Thanks Grayson Verhoven

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