Animals

How One Woman’s Adorable Mini Horses Became Therapy for Thousands

Faith San Severino invested all of her savings into training miniature horses as therapy animals to help seniors in her community. But through Faith’s determination and one special mini horse named Peabody, that powerful joy wound up lifting the spirits of millions!

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Faith’s First Mini Horse

There has to be more we can do for them,” Faith said to her friends after volunteering at a senior care facility in San Diego.

Suddenly, an idea popped into Faith’s mind. She had seen how much the residents enjoy therapy dogs, and as a long-time horse lover, she said, “What if I get a mini horse, train it, and bring it to visit?”

“Good luck with that,” one friend chuckled. But Faith felt a strong stirring in her heart at the idea of owning and training tiny horses. Certain of her plan, she reached out to a friend who was a horse breeder.

To her delight, Faith was soon introduced to a 26-inch-tall cream mini that she named Baby Sky … and it was a match made in heaven. After a little training and buying a van to transport Sky, Faith asked the director of the senior facility if they could come visit.

Faith San Severino

This is incredible, Faith beamed, watching the residents’ faces lit up as her Sky clopped around. I wish everyone with illnesses or disabilities could experience this joy!

Suddenly, another idea struck. I’ll get more mini horses and train them to become certified therapy animals, Faith thought, and “Faithful Friends” was born.

Little Horses, Big Smiles

With support from her husband, Adam, Faith followed her heart, took a leap of faith, and invested her savings to lease a corral at a public barn, adding more mini horses to her stable. Once her minis were trained and certified, she called other local senior centers to schedule visits.

“What kind of dog is that?” one Alzheimer’s patient asked grinning as she looked down at little Sky.

“It’s a mini horse!” Faith exclaimed. The woman’s smile told Faith everything she needed to know — the minis were spreading joy just as she’d hoped.

Wanting to expand, Faith soon moved to a home with many acres and began looking for more mini horses to train. Faith’s friend, a horse-breeder, agreed to sell some of her low-energy minis that couldn’t be groomed for horse shows. Once they turned six months old and were able to be away from their mothers, Faith began training them, until they were a year old and could become certified.

As word spread, requests for visits grew. Soon, Faith and her ever-growing stable of mini heart-warmers were bringing hope to people all over the country. I just knew people would fall in love with these little guys, she thought happily.

Faith and Her Mini Horses Go Viral

Still, Faith wished she could reach more people, and so she began posting videos of the horses on TikTok. Immediately, her account gained followers, and one horse — Peabody, a dwarf mini just 16 inches tall — especially stole hearts. Before she knew it, with Peabody’s help, Faith’s videos had gone viral, garnering more than 900,000 followers.

Faith San Severino

“I have polio and I can hardly walk. But when I saw this tiny horse with crooked legs, I thought, If he can do it, I can do it too,” one follower shared.

“I suffer from depression and I take medication. But when I see Peabody, I can’t help but smile,” another fan wrote to Faith.

Sadly, Peabody recently passed away due to ongoing health issues, but his legacy lives on through the rest of Faith’s fourhoofed faithful friends.

“Being with these horses is what I call ‘mini Heaven.’ They bring joy instantly,” Faith says, who has now trained over 200 mini horses. “Peabody was so special because he was a therapy horse for the whole world. Never short-change your dreams. Anyone can make a difference and bring joy — never give up!”

Love the power of these mini horses? For other inspiring stories, learn about horse therapy for veterans and people healing from trauma.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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