Itty Bitty Hope may be small; but she’s making a big difference in the lives of sick children.
The miniature horse is the smallest horse on record, coming in at just 14 inches tall. Her owner, Linda Woods, runs Mini Hooves of Love Miniature Therapy Horses, a non-profit, with her husband, Jim. She sees the horse’s tiny build as a blessing in disguise.
Because Itty Bitty Hope is so little, “she’ll be able to navigate around hospitals and nursing homes and medical equipment more easily,” Linda said to ABC News. The tiny horse has visited many hospitals, hospice care facilities and the Ronald McDonald House in Dallas.
During a visit to a hospice care facility, Hope visited a baby girl who was suffering from a fatal genetic disorder. The baby’s mother said she just wanted the opportunity for her daughter to touch a horse before she passed away. These moments are the ones that stick with the Woods and what motivates them to share the small joy of being around Hope with those who need it most.
“Many people who are in nursing homes now are of the age that they had interaction with horses when they were young,” Linda explained. “One man who had been a farmer had tears in his eyes as he pet one of the horses, he said he hadn’t touched a horse in 16 years.”
Because Itty Bitty Hope is so young, she can only be away from her mother for about an hour, which makes traveling difficult. Since they’ve had such a positive response from those who’ve been around Hope, the couple is considering bringing the mother along on therapy trips in order to visit more people in need.
“If you can imagine a child [in a] hospital all day, having a bad day,” Jim Woods said, “as soon as they see the horse their mood changes, their blood pressure drops. Everything about them changes and they have a big smile on their face. It just makes your day.”