WAIMEA — Four generations of Carmen Arashiro’s family enjoyed the company of three miniature horses from Healing Horses Friday at the Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital.
“School is out so a lot of grandchildren and children are here,” said Heather Phelps, director of Healing Horses. “I’ve turned them into volunteers.”
The task was enjoyed by many children, the number growing as cell phones sent out the advisory of the horses’ arrival for the benefit of the hospital’s long-term residents.
“Our goal is to have as many outdoor events like this where residents can get out into the fresh air,” said Joanna Cabbab, KVMH recreational director. “A lot of these residents have had pets and animals, and bringing them together gives them an opportunity to enjoy the animals because they can’t have any in the hospital.”
Phelps said proceeds from the July 28 Healing Horses gala at the Hukilau Lanai from 6 to 9:30 p.m. will help fund operations such as the hospital visits. The goal of the fundraiser is $50,000 for continued operation of programs and development of its 15-acre riding facility in Wailua. Tickets are $50 and include dinner, dessert, entertainment, a silent auction, and a no-host bar.
“Our eventual goal for outreach is to get out as much as possible into the schools, especially the Special Education programs, and to bring our services to people with physical, social, and mental disabilities,” Phelps said.
Another new program being offered is the Ponies to Preschool for kids 3 to 6 years old and for children 7 years and older.
“There is no riding involved,” Phelps said. “It is basic pony care, the first level of introduction to horses where young people learn about barn etiquette, and lessons on ‘no running, no yelling, waiting turn,’ as well as some overlap into academia such as color recognition.”
Healing Horses is at the Kapaa bypass road and is open Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 5:30 p.m.