Therapy horse-in-training visits Wauwatosa East High School
Minature horse 'Tex' works with students with disabilities
Tex was a true gentleman to students with disabilities at Wauwatosa East High School, even though he isn't a man.
Tex is a miniature horse, 26 inches tall and weighing in at 130 lbs. He visited the students as part of his training to become a therapy horse. He visited the students on a rainy Monday morning, showed them a trick and was thoroughly petted and enjoyed by all.
He was brought to East via his owner Kathy Brost's minivan. This was the second time Brost brought Tex to the public as a therapy horse. The first time was at a nursing home in West Bend.
He only knows one trick right now: how to stand on a platform. Brost hopes to add to his repertoire by teaching him how to play basketball, move a baby cart and stand on his hind legs.
Once he learns a few more tricks, is used to being around the elderly and those with disabilities and learns to be sure-footed on tile floors, he will be ready to be a full-fledged therapy horse.
Brost always wanted to do therapy visits and has two dogs that she could train to do therapy work, but decided to get Tex because she's a horse lover and wanted to bring something different to the table.
She had to not only find a horse small enough to do therapy visits, but she had to find one with the right temperament. It took her a few years before finding Tex in the unlikeliest of places — Texas — but she knew he was the right horse for the job as soon as she met him.
"He's very smart," she said. "He seems to enjoy doing it and he's not high strung."
It will be a few more years before Tex is ready to be a full-fledged therapy horse. Brost has been training him every day since she got him. She has a wheelchair and crutches at home to get him used to the equipment. She pops balloons around him to make sure he won't jump at loud noises and she's been taking him on tile floors to get him used to walking on their slippery surface.
On why she trains Tex and does therapy stops, Brost said someone told her she would be bringing joy to other people's lives. But she said she is the one who gets the most enjoyment from the visits.
Harrison Hensler, a 16-year-old Wauwatosa student, said he was surprised by the horses size and added that he thought Tex was friendly.
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