Mini Horses Help High School Horses with Finals

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Hey, remember high school? Only vaguely? Same here. I do remember a general feeling of dread at the end of the semester, knowing final exams were my last chance to bring up my middling grades before my parents saw my report card. The stress of that knowledge would lead to ineffective studying, more middling grades, and ultimately, an unimpressive GPA. But you know what? It all turned out OK because while I may not have been accepted to Harvard, I did eventually land a sweet gig curating viral horse news stories*, like this one.

Barrington High School in the Chicago suburbs wanted to help break the cycle of stress that afflicts so many students during finals week, so they did what anyone would do. They brought in horses. Specifically, they invited Mini Horses from Mane in Heaven, an animal-assisted therapy group based in Barrington. These Mini therapy horses and their human handlers visit nursing homes, hospitals, veterans’ facilities and other locations where they can help people through animal-assisted activity and therapy.

According to Mane in Heaven, one of the benefits of human-animal interactions is helping people develop an outward focus. In other words, when people interact with Mini Horses, they think about the horses instead of their personal problems and stressors. Like final exams.

Students were surprised to see the Minis at their school when Mane in Heaven visited on Wednesday, but they were an instant hit. The horses spent the morning accepting pats and hugs and posing for selfies with students.

Barrington High School’s mascot is the Mustang, so it seems equine encounters shouldn’t be entirely unheard of for this student body. But Principal Steve McWilliams told the Daily Herald that no horses had been in the school since “a senior prank in the 70s. And that might just be an urban legend.”

Good luck with the rest of your finals, Mustangs!

*Yes, my parents are proud. Probably.

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