Northern Michigan in Focus: Charlie the Miniature Therapy Horse

There’s something about touching an animal that bonds with the human spirit.

Chief photojournalist Corey Adkins takes us to Baldwin to meet Charlie from Little Horses Big Smiles.

“This is all Charlie knows. He’s never done anything but this job, and it’s the greatest thing ever,” said Ronica Froese, Little Horses Big Smiles.

Meet Charlie the miniature therapy horse.

It all started around three years ago when Ronica wanted to buy a miniature horse.

“I started researching miniature horses because I always just had big ones and I found out you could do therapy. So I decided if he was the right fit for it, and if I could train him for it,” explained Ronica.

She did. Now Ronica and Charlie visit schools, veterans groups, and last week we tagged along as they made a visit to Grand Oaks in Baldwin.

“It’s amazing. No matter where I take Charlie people smile, all different ages. I believe what we do with the nursing homes is so critical because they’re a generation that grew up with the animals, and horses, they can connect with them and they love him,” said Ronica.

Like Sandra Johnson.

“This horse is adorable. Aside from being an aesthetic value, it’s very cute and friendly and well-mannered, and it did kiss me right on the lips. It’s very well-mannered and normally you don’t find that, and even a little pony at the fairgrounds, so I think it’s very cute,” said Sandra.

Betty Grybowski is also a fan of Charlie.

“Charlie, he’s a cute little horse. He’s been here before. He’s always friendly, he always likes to be petted,” said Betty.

Ronica says there’s a huge need for therapy animals out there, and she’s there to help.

“Anybody who wants to contact me, we have email, Facebook phone. If you’re interested in getting started, I’m here to help mentor and help whoever I can help because there’s tons of other people that could be out there helping the people we can’t reach and lives we can’t touch,” explained Ronica.

You can find more information about Charlie here. 

Categories: Northern Michigan In Focus