Horsing Around: Elf Visits Jericho

By CHLOE SHAKIN

Originally Published January 2013

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Elf with a HorseAbility volunteer outside the Jericho Middle and High School campus.

Miniature horse, Elf, visited Jericho to accept a custom-made coat from several middle and high school clubs on January 4. He was greeted by an excited crowd of faculty and students who braved the cold weather to give him a proper welcome.

Elf is smaller than most horses; large equines wear a size 84 blanket whereas he wears a size 50. Most companies do not manufacture coats of this size, leaving him without a blanket for this year’s brutal winter. High school club Kids Helping Pets as well as the middle school’s 8th Grade Peer Tutoring club and the VolunTeens joined forces and raised enough money to buy Elf his own blanket through bake sales and other fundraisers.

Elf is a therapy horse for HorseAbility, an organization located on the SUNY Old Westbury campus that gives individuals with special needs the chance to interact with horses. Founded by Kathleen Kilcommons McGowan in 1993, HorseAbility also hosts Camp HorseAbility, a week full of riding for those with special needs.

“Elf now is a member of our herd for our equine facility psychotherapy program as well as our driving program,” said McGowan after thanking Ms. Ryder and the different clubs for their efforts. “This is so appreciated.”

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JHS student Aury Meija petting the horse.

Jericho High School librarian and HorseAbility board member Denise Ryder was primarily responsible for the liaison between the organization and Jericho. She formally presented Elf with his coat, complete with an oversize tag labeled “Santa’s Little Helper.”

“It seemed like a good match. I knew you guys would come through,” Ryder said of connecting the clubs with Elf. “Plus, he was cold!”

 

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