Boo is a 22 year old, 16-hand registered blue roan Paint. He was purchased by Becky when he was 2 years old. Boo has been a show horse in both English and Western pleasure (qualifying and placing at the WSCA Champ Show, 4-H State Horse Show, and many Paint and Pinto Breed shows), a trail horse, a lesson horse and since 2001 a therapy horse. Boo has been a mentor to many patients of all ages at Nature’s Edge. For those small or insecure patients intimated by his size, Boo regularly exhibits his trustworthy, caring, gentle-giant side. For those who may present too much attitude, Boo may choose to test them with a few games to see how they respond. Never mean-spirited or spiteful, Boo has a great capacity to size up a situation and respond appropriately.
Nature’s Edge was founded in 2001 and Boo was right there with Becky, helping to get therapy with equine assistance at the Center up and moving. Boo was the rock, a perfect therapy horse to develop a speech, occupational and physical therapy program with equine assistance. His even disposition, nice big movement and long sweeping stride made him an ideal horse to provide hippotherapy. Being a show horse at the same time, Boo was already accustomed to all kinds of commotion and the work schedule necessary to stay in top condition. While Boo can surely test those who know him and make him work, he can also be the sweetest, most relaxed guy when a patient in a wheel chair comes to visit him. When it is time for a therapy session, Boo is more than aware of his responsibility and provides everything in his power to make sure the patient has a safe and productive ride.
A therapy session is an hour long. The horse is utilized as a treatment tool, so the horse needs to be in top form. An even four-beat gait is necessary with good forward movement. The horse’s pelvis is similar to ours, so the patient receives the movement directly from the horse and the benefits associated with it. Each horse provides one of three movements -- anterior-posterior, lateral, or rotational. Boo is exceptional and gives off a rotational movement which provides the best movement of all, both anterior-posterior and lateral. During sessions the horse needs to be able to handle position changes. Perhaps the patient will be sitting forward while performing different tasks at the beginning of the session, but during the session, the patient may sit backwards, lie down, lean forward, lie across the horse. While Boo is phenomenal and handles all without batting an eye, even patients who may have a melt-down or who communicate displeasure by screaming, those situations do put a lot of stress on a horse.
In 2016, Boo started experiencing some internal issues. He ended up colicking on three occasions. We were able to pull him out of the colic fairly rapidly for the first two times. The third time Boo colicked he received an emergency vet ride to Anoka, MN. Dr. Tracy Turner spent two days helping Boo and trying to figure out why he was in so much pain. After an endoscopy it was discovered that Boo had ulcers. By this point they were pretty extensive and causing quite a bit of pain. We were able to heal his ulcers with GastroGard and time off from work. Boo has been able to return to work on a part-time basis. While he has been doing better he does still have bouts of his ulcer discomfort. He is currently on a probiotic, but I believe that the Platinum Performance GI would benefit him greatly. This product would help to keep his flare-ups to a minimum and/or stop them all together as well as help his hind gut and any ulcers that conventional medicine can’t reach.Relationship of Nominator to Nominee
I have been the barn manager at Nature's Edge Therapy Center (NETC) from 2013-2017. In 2017 I moved into the general manager position. Bacardi Breezer (nickname is Boo) is one of 10 therapy horses at NETC that I have interacted with for the past five years. Boo's owner is Becky Payne, the founder, director and speech pathologist at Nature’s Edge Therapy Center. Boo has served as a therapy horse since 2001, helping with treatment through hippotherapy sessions and equine-assisted activities. -- Cassandra Niederhauser