Miniature therapy horse delivering big smiles, serenity

Kari Myers

Laura Laffey has a full barn – six chickens, five dogs, two cats, two goats and four horses. One of her horses, Sprinkles, stands out from the others.
        Laffey didn’t plan on having a therapy horse until last Halloween when she took her kids trick-or-treating and her son went as Prince Charming with Sprinkles as his noble steed. In the midst of the craze of Halloween and kids in costume running up to pet her, Sprinkles did not flinch or bat an eye. It was then Laffey realized just how much Sprinkles loves making people happy and how good she is at doing so.
        Subsequently Sprinkles underwent the required training and testing in order to become a certified therapy pet through Pet Partners, a workplace wellness program. She passed the tests with the highest score and has no limitations on visits.
        Sprinkles is the first therapy horse in Northwest Ohio registered through Pet Partners.
        “I think it’s important for the community – when you go to a nursing home and it just brightens their week, or even their month,” Laffey said.
        While Laffey and Sprinkles currently enjoy visiting nursing homes and schools, they would like to work on visiting hospitals or doing house visits to those who are homebound, to bring joy there as well. However, they are only able to stay for a couple hours at a time.
        As helpful as Sprinkles is for those who are sick, she also is fantastic at putting smiles on the faces of those who have lost a loved one or are lonely.
        While Sprinkles is a loving, kind horse who loves brightening people’s day, Laffey asks that no one feeds Sprinkles during therapy visits, as she could learn to expect food in someone’s hand and may nip. Riding Sprinkles is also discouraged, because she is a miniature horse with a weight limit, and to prevent undue stress.
        “I want to keep the visits enjoyable for her,” Laffey said. “She’s not there just for their amusement, I do it also for her enrichment.”
        For more information, visit or visit the Sprinkles the Miniature Therapy Horse Facebook Page.


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