March 2016 LoveWay Horse of the Month: Jim

by Caitlyn Andrews March 01, 2016

LoveWay Therapy Horse of the Month March 2016

Each month we feature a therapy horse from LoveWay, an equine assisted therapy non-profit organization in Middlebury, Indiana. The LoveWay Horse of the Month for March hasn't been in the therapy program for very long. He joined LoveWay a year ago and seems to have enjoyed every minute of it. Introducing: Jim!

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

Jim didn't exactly fit the criteria that the LoveWay staff uses when adding a new horse to their therapy program. LoveWay equine manager, RJ Arndt, generally looks for horses that are between 6 and 18 years old. Jim was an exception to this rule. The 26-year-old gelding joined the program in January 2015. He was older than some of the horses that had already been in the program for awhile. Jim took to the therapy program as if he had been doing it for years.

LoveWay Arabian Therapy Horse

Jim poses in his field at LoveWay Inc. in Middlebury, IN.

Jim's Perfect Timing

Jim's owner, a LoveWay volunteer, offered Jim at a much needed time. Some of the therapy horses were sick and LoveWay was in desperate need for a good horse. Jim's owner thought he would be a great fit. Jim had previously been a trail horse but wasn't being used anymore. When it's time for Jim to retire the owner will take him back home. But for now, Jim has a job that he loves and he's showing no signs of slowing down.

About Jim

If you were to meet Jim in person you probably wouldn't guess his age just by looking at him. You might not even realize he's an Arabian at first. He lacks the "classic, refined Arabian" look. There is no rule against having Arabians in therapy programs, but they aren't common at LoveWay. Horses with a calm, laid back nature are the best fit to keep riders safe. Some Arabians can be high-strung and flighty. Just like Jim was an exception to the age rule, he also surprised the LoveWay staff with how level headed he is. He doesn't shy easily, but that doesn't mean he isn't energetic. Jim will walk slowly when a student needs him to, but he usually needs fast sidewalkers.

LoveWay Horse of the Month Jim

Jim with RJ Arndt, the Equine Manager at LoveWay.

Being high energy and technically an elderly horse (though he sure doesn't know it!) Jim can have a hard time keeping weight on. Lucky for him, he has the LoveWay staff caring for him and making sure he gets the nutrition he needs. Jim is fed a senior feed, a fatty acid formula, and Senior Combo supplement to maintain his figure. Other than his special diet, Jim has been easy to care for. Sure, he's a little messy and needs a hay net when he eats and he sometimes chews the wood in his stall, but for 26 years old he's pretty low maintenance.

Helping Children with Autism

Last month, we mentioned that students at LoveWay are paired with horses that are the best fit for them. The February Horse of the Month had been abused before becoming a therapy horse so she made a great match for students that had experienced abuse themselves. Jim also is a good match for particular students. Jim's faster gaits and forward motion make him a great fit for students with autism. Autistic children in the program that need more stimulation find his gaits soothing and calming. And sometimes, there's just a kid that likes to go fast. This is where Jim fits in. Riding Jim isn't just therapeutic- it's fun!

About LoveWay Inc.

Jim is just one of many special horses at LoveWay that are making an impact in children's lives. Therapy horses help children build muscle tone, improve motor skills, and increase attention span and memory retention among many other benefits. If you are interested in volunteering your time or donating to LoveWay then get in touch with them today by calling 574-825-5556 or emailing molly@lovewayinc.org.

Support LoveWay with Amazon

Do you shop on Amazon? If you don't live in the area you can still help LoveWay out just by shopping at the site you already use. You can simply sign up with AmazonSmile and Amazon will donate a percentage of your orders to your charity of choice (LoveWay!) at no additional cost to you! You can learn more about this easy way to help on LoveWay's website.



Caitlyn Andrews
Caitlyn Andrews

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