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The horses are small enough to be approachable. ((CBC))

Senior citizens at the O'Leary Community Centre in western P.E.I. had more than bingo to keep them occupied this Wednesday, when they got a visit from some miniature horses.

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The horses have been visiting seniors and adults and children with special needs throughout the summer. ((CBC))

Mary Gallant has been travelling across the Island with the horses since early this summer, visiting seniors and care homes for adults and children with special needs. Her mission is to provide them with physical and mental therapy.

She lets them pet and brush the horses and walk them through obstacle courses. The activities help clients build strong bonds and boosts their confidence and spirit.

"The horses are small enough that they can interact with them, they can reach them, versus a big horse," said Gallant.

"They're so gentle, their disposition is just phenomenal. They amaze me; every day they amaze me."

Gallant is among a small group of Canadians with the proper certification to offer therapy with miniature horses. The horses bring back special memories for some seniors.

"They're very nice little fellas," said James Palmer.

"I worked horses all my life, not miniature horse, big ones — driving horses. It brings back a lot of memories."

Gallant also offers some programs on her farm in Bloomfield. Eventually she hopes the province will provide the funding to start up a year-round equine therapy centre in western P.E.I.

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