April 2016 LoveWay Horse of the Month: Flirt

by Caitlyn Andrews April 01, 2016

LoveWay Featured Therapy Horse Flirt

Every month we feature one of the therapy horses at LoveWay. These horses have different backgrounds, strengths, and personalities, but they all share one very important job: making a difference in the lives of children with special needs. Each one of these amazing horses deserves their time in the spotlight.

This month we're once again featuring a LoveWay favorite horse and saying goodbye at the same time. Flirt, affectionately referred to as LoveWay's poster boy will be retiring at the end of the semester. He's put in 6 wonderful years as a therapy horse and its time for a well-earned retirement.

Flirt's Impressive Resume

Before Flirt was donated to LoveWay he had quite the impressive show career. He was shown on the APHA circuit and even carried his owner on to compete in World Championships. He did great in showmanship, Western pleasure, and would even extend beautifully for his English classes. His favorite, though, was trail class and he did very well for his previous owner. A blemish on his right front knee contributed to the end of his show career, but it never affected his performance and he remained happy and healthy during his time at LoveWay.

LoveWay April Horse of the Month

A Great Therapy Horse

Just as Flirt excelled in the show ring, he also excelled as a therapy horse. Flirt is known for being the horse that anyone can ride. The rider's age and ability don't matter to him because he tries his best for everyone. Whether the student needs 2 sidewalkers or is ready to lope on their own, Flirt takes care of his rider. He's always willing to please. However, he is known to test the exercise riders and instructors. He won't test the students, but you can tell who knows how to ride when they're on Flirt.

Living Up to the Name "Flirt"

Over the years Flirt has become the poster boy for LoveWay. It's easy to see why. He's beautiful from the inside out. He has a heart of gold and a good mind, all in a flashy paint package! Even with his winter coat starting to shed, you can see how photogenic he is.

Therapy Horse Flirt at LoveWay

Flirt lives up to his name. Not just because he's so beautiful, but he can act 'studly' when he's with other horses. He can't be turned out in a field with mares but does great with his pasture buddy, Mac. Mac is a young Gypsy Vanner that was given to LoveWay as part of LexLin Gypsy Ranch's "Gypsy Gift" program in 2014. Mac will get his own feature in a future article. It's not too surprising that Flirt acts like a stud. Before he was gelded and before he ever came to LoveWay, Flirt sired a couple foals of his own.

Ready to Retire from Life as a Therapy Horse

Flirt is finishing up this semester at LoveWay, so if you want to see him before he moves on to retirement in May, now is the time to stop in! Flirt started showing signs that it was time to retire at the end of last semester. He was lame and the staff tried various treatments to help him get back to normal. The vet even checked him for ulcers but ended up diagnosing him with kissing spine disease. Basically, two vertebrae are touching where they shouldn't and causing Flirt pain when he's ridden. For the rest of the semester, until he retires, Flirt will only participate in classes where the student is on the ground instead of riding.

The Perfect Retirement Home

Coincidentally, not long after the LoveWay staff received Flirt's diagnosis and decided that he needed to retire, they got a call from his previous owners. They had called to say that when Flirt was ready to retire that he had a home with them. It was explained that he had kissing spine disease and had a long road to recovery ahead of him. His old owners didn't mind and were still happy to have him back!

Saying Goodbye to a LoveWay Favorite

It's great news that Flirt has a happy retirement with loved ones ahead of him. Unfortunately, the LoveWay staff, volunteers, and students will need to say goodbye to a cherished horse in the LoveWay family. It will be particularly hard for Maggie Korenstra, a part-time PATH certified instructor at LoveWay, to say goodbye. Maggie has nothing but fond memories of Flirt. Maggie has known Flirt since she started volunteering at LoveWay in 2009. He easily became one of her favorites and she even used him to prepare for her instructor exam. Maggie took a brief hiatus and when she returned in the Fall of 2015 it was nice to see a familiar face in the beautiful paint she loved working with. Maggie will miss having Flirt around, but she's happy knowing that he is going to a good home. He's certainly earned a happy retirement.

LoveWay Therapy Horse and Instructor

Pictured Above: Instructor Maggie Korenstra shares a moment with Flirt after a grooming session. She found just the right spot on his neck to scratch!

LoveWay Needs Another Therapy Horse

Flirt can never be replaced in the program, but it is time for LoveWay to find another therapy horse to join the team. If you know of a smaller pony or a draft cross horse that would make a good therapy horse then contact LoveWay today!

Caitlyn Andrews
Caitlyn Andrews


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