February LoveWay Horse of the Month: Chickee

by Caitlyn Andrews February 08, 2017

LoveWay Featured Therapy Horse Feb 2017

This month we're featuring a therapy horse at LoveWay named Chickee. LoveWay, Inc. is an equine assisted therapy non-profit organization in Middlebury, IN. Keep reading to find out how you can get involved with LoveWay.

Chickee the Therapy Horse

Chickee was donated to LoveWay and joined the equine staff in June of 2016. Chickee is a Trottingbred, a breed primarily used for harness racing. True to her breed, 13-year-old Chickee was used as a pacing and cart pony before coming to LoveWay. She loves trotting! You can learn more about the Trottingbred breed on their official website here.

In the short time that Chickee has been in the LoveWay program, the staff has already gotten to know and love her. She has a sweet personality and she is eager to learn. She's very responsive.

In fact, she's so responsive that Cait, LoveWay's Equine Manager, has a favorite story of just how well Chickee listens:

One day, Sharon, LoveWay Program Manager and Instructor, was working in the arena with Mac. Cait brought Chickee into the arena for some exercise. The two horses were both so attentive and sociable, that they didn't just listen to the person working with them, but tried to follow the commands of both staff members. When Cait would give a vocal command, Mac and Chickee would both respond. The same thing would happen when Sharon would give cues to Mac. Both horses were trying to follow her instructions. It was a fun exercise session that ended in laughter.

LoveWay Horse of the Month Chickee

Pictured Above: Sweet Chickee stands patiently for her photo shoot.

EAL Classes at LoveWay

Her personality makes her perfect for the EAL classes. She has a gift for bringing kids out of their shells. EAL stands for Equine Assisted Learning. Students don't ride the horses in these classes. If they do, it's isn't often. Instead, they do a variety of exercises on the ground to help them learn to communicate with the horses.

One exercise that EAL students get to participate in is called "Build a Ranch". The students make a pretend horse barn out of various props in the arena. They build things in teams such as ground pole "corrals". Once their "ranch" is put together, the students lead their horses through it. The exercise promotes teamwork and teaches the students what kind of obstacles their horses can work with. 

Chiropractors for Therapy Horses

We've mentioned in early features the benefits of chiropractic care for the LoveWay horses. Chickee is one such horse that needs chiropractic work, stretches, and massages. Her hips can get sore. Cait lunges her outside of classes to help loosen her hips and keep Chickee healthy. Cait wasn't sure if Chickee knew how to lunge before coming to LoveWay, but she was smart and picked it up quick.

Chickee is a valuable addition to the LoveWay team and the staff do all they can to keep her happy and healthy. If you would like to help by sponsoring a chiropractic session for Chickee, please contact LoveWay. It would be greatly appreciated!

LoveWay Lifts and Therapy Horse

Pictured Above: LoveWay Horse of the Month, Chickee, practices standing at the lifts. This is where students are helped into the saddle.

A Sheep at LoveWay

Recently, LoveWay had an unexpected visitor. Cait Wilson, LoveWay's Equine Manager, was feeding the horses in the morning when she noticed that everyone seemed to be on high alert. It was the first warm day after a winter cold snap, so the horses were energetic, but that wasn't the only reason they were so wound up. There was a stray sheep walking around the LoveWay property!

The LoveWay staff never did find out where the sheep came from. She was a Barbados Black Belly sheep (pictured below), a rare breed for this area. For a month, the ewe roamed the LoveWay grounds without anyone being able to catch her, much like a stray cat. She became such a common sight at LoveWay that Sharon even gave her a name: Matilda.

Though many of the horses were nervous of Matilda at first, Chickee handled the new visitor better than most. When Matilda was new to LoveWay, Cait brought in Chickee and Sunny together. Sunny was very nervous, prancing and blowing his nose at the sheep. Chickee took a moment to look at the sheep and then simply got over it. Cait said she even looked at Sunny as if to say, "That's too much."

Matilda the sheep has since moved on to a new home. There were many unsuccessful attempts to catch her (she seemed content to stay at LoveWay and clean up the hay after the horses!). She was finally caught with the help of two Cowboys for Christ members, Dean and Ryan. The Cowboys for Christ group meets often at LoveWay. Lucky for LoveWay, they were able to help. Dean and Ryan hauled their horses over and caught Matilda. She had been living at LoveWay for about a month. The horses had already gotten used to her being around. If nothing else, Matilda helped the horses become desensitized to other farm animals!

Barbados Blackbelly Sheep at LoveWay

Pictured Above: A Barbados Blackbelly Ewe. This is not a picture of the sheep at LoveWay, this is a picture to show the breed. Photo credit: Bradley Bishop

How to Get Involved at LoveWay

It's easy to get involved with LoveWay! The non-profit is always in need of volunteers. From assisting in classes to exercising the horses, to even cleaning up around the barn in your spare time, there is something for everyone to do at LoveWay. LoveWay could also use donations. They are even hiring for two part-time positions right now. You can find out more on their Latest News page.

LoveWay February Featured Horse Chickee

Pictured Above: Chickee looks into the arena. Right before this picture was taken she called to her buddy, Sunny. Chickee can be very vocal.

Caitlyn Andrews
Caitlyn Andrews


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