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Personal ponies have only one mission ; we provide U.K. Shetland Ponies to children with disabilities to help change children's lives. Our mission is to make magic in children's lives, to bring smiles and joy in a most unusual way. We believe (and we've seen it happen over and over again!) that the lives of children with special needs are immeasurably enriched by having a small equine companion to love and care for. Our ponies are uniquely suited in temperament and size to small children, and we provide them to families completely without charge, and we are the only organization of its kind in the world.
Personal ponies began with the dream of our founder, Marianne Alexander (and just two ponies) to do something special for special children. As a breeder of Connemara Ponies and Irish Sport Horses, for more than 3 decades, she wanted to give something back. She discovered the incredible sensitivity of the UK Shetland Pony to children with disabilities, and saw first-hand how they changed children's lives. The UK Shetland Pony is a very special breed. These ponies are docile and kind, intelligent, sensitive, and capable of doing hard work. She knew what she had to do. We don't have any rules about eligibility and you don't have to convince us that you are worthy or that your special child is sick "enough" or disabled "enough" to qualify. If you have a child who is "differently-able" and you believe that a very special new best friend might make a difference in your child's life, then we want to help. When you see a child smile and hug a small, hairy pony you will not have to wonder whether the work we do is important. Our ponies change children's lives. One of our mottos is "have pony, will travel"--our ponies go anywhere kids and seniors will benefit from seeing and interacting with them. We take them to nursing home to visit aging seniors, children's hospitals to visit sick kids, day care centers, therapeutic riding centers, and treatment centers. There is a new program just launched in Florida that will be launched here if it is afforded that promotes literacy. It is called Pony Tales and what we do is we bring the ponies to the school and let the kids read a story to "their" pony. Since the humble beginnings, Personal Ponies has grown into an international organization involving hundreds of volunteers throughout the country. We now have programs in almost every state, which have place d ponies with many hundreds of children and hundreds more are on our waiting lists. We depend on both the hearts and hands of hundreds of volunteer breeders, promoters, and sponsors, as well as those who support us financially, so that we can continue to grow and serve children and adults who need something special in their lives.
- Melissa Christensen
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