Standing Ovation by Ovation Riding: Bushman the Therapy Horse

Every Friday, Horse Nation teams up with Ovation Riding to spotlight an individual or organization doing good work in the horse world. Today, we recognize Bushman, the “Therapist with Hooves.”

Known as the “Therapist with Hooves,” Bushman the horse has been changing lives of elderly patients in Australia.

Bushman, a 16-hand Appaloosa-Quarter Horse cross, is owned by Christie Hall, a former aged care nurse. Hall has had Bushman for 16 years, but 18 months ago she realized the horse had the right personality for a therapy horse. Since then, Bushman has worked as a therapy horse, visiting aged care homes around Sydney and the south coast of New South Wales.

Hall says that Bushman is excellent at putting patients at ease, especially those with dementia. Residents respond positively to him and some behavioral breakthroughs have occurred. Some patients who never speak started speaking to him and others who didn’t want to leave their rooms would come out to see the horse.

Hall got the idea to use Bushman as a therapy horse while she was working in a high care dementia unit. On one of her days off, she thought that the residents might enjoy a visit from Bushman. They stayed for six hours. Since then, their days are filled with therapy visits at a variety of aged care homes.

Hall says Bushman has a special, intangible gift that make the therapy especially effective. Bushman seems to sense when a resident needs more. She did not specifically train him to do that, but does it on his own.

So, thank you and standing ovation to Bushman and Christie Hall for their good work. Go riding!

Many thanks thanks to Ovation Riding for their support of both Horse Nation and individuals and organizations that are doing good work in the horse world. If you know someone who deserves a Standing Ovation, we would love to recognize them in a future post. Email the name of the person or organization along with a message about the good work they do to [email protected]. Photos/videos are always welcome, and include a link to their website if applicable.

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