2016 Miniature Horse WORLD Issues October/November 2016 Vol 32 No 5 - Page 58

T mini scoop Brain Scientist Gifts a Miniature Horse for Rehabilitation Sedgwick, Victoria, Australia wo sisters had their careers as racehorse jockeys came to tragic ends when both suffered brain injuries from falls off of racehorses in separate incidents within the same year. After many years of rehabilitation, they still need constant attendance for everyday activity. Their comfort and care are paramount to encourage their continued recovery. Their last horse had died four years earlier. Something was missing in their recipe for recovery. the other is a bit lighter boned and refined. Both were good selections, but upon meeting the sisters, we decided that in this circumstance, it would be better if they received the more resilient Miniature horse of the two, “he said. Shannon Panzo is a brain scientist and researcher who has for many years observed and studied the human / equine connection and interaction. He claims there is a fantastic connection that can be established between equines and humans because equines have a natural empathy and can sense the deepest human emotions and feelings. It makes equines an excellent choice for healing and rehabilitative therapies. Within six months of each other, the now, former jockeys-Rochelle and Kerrin suffered a career ending ‘acquired brain injuries’ (ABIs). The two sisters both suffered serious injuries in separate race-horse riding accidents. Rochelle is paralyzed down her right side after she came off her horse at a race meet in Tasmania. Later that same year, while returning from track work, Kerrin was thrown into a tree when her Thoroughbred bolted. His interests also include bringing humans and horses closer together for the betterment of both. Shannon Panzo’s wife, Lyn, was the first to tell him about the sisters and their story. “We came to the conclusion to gift one of our Miniature horses, as it would be a nice gesture and bring positive benefit to the women,” Shannon said recently while feeding several Mini horses, “The selection process was a 2-way street.” “There were two of our Miniatures that were potential candidates. Both are very pretty with sparkling personalities. One was resilient and physically stronger, while A beautiful palomino mare named, Summer was chosen as the gift. Her diminutive size, cute face, and personality made a just right substitute for a full-sized horse. “I thought that the sister’s lifelong connection to horses gave them valuable motivation with their rehabilitation process. What the therapeutic value of the empathetic equine can bring to the human psyche is widely known”, said Shannon. “Horse racing is dangerous. To have a debilitating injury happen once is tragic. To have two career ending injuries within the same family, in such a short time span, is almost impossible to comprehend. I’ve seen how the family has stoically dealt with the outcome of the accidents, but anyone can see a spark of joy with the addition of a little horse into their lives.” Summer has adjusted well to being the center of attention. “I have received reports as to how the girls are getting along with Summer and vice versa,” Panzo said. “It’s amazing to see how Summer is thriving; she’s gone from being one in the herd to being the superstar with all the attention. You can tell the girls love the horse. They apparently vie for who gets to feed her.” Although, Shannon said, “My first Miniature horse was kept in our back yard. She was very quiet, so none of the neighbors minded. My wife and I would often walk her around through the neighborhood. We both enjoyed the opportunity to have her close at hand. Then we moved to a bigger property, and that’s when the real fun began, including this research that has enriched my life forever.” He then added, “In the future, I plan to create a human/equine hands-on training to share this useful information with others.” Courtesy of Webwire 56 Miniature Horse World O C TO B E R / N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 6