Passion for Horses and Helping Others

A Dose of ‘Horse’pitality. Jean Baker got a surprise visit on her 96th birthday from Maggie and her owner Rosa Shelton from Kindred Hospice.  Many residents eagerly made their way outside to pet and hug Maggie on Saturday, October 14.  Maggie made lots of new friends and it appears that Sterling Presbyterian Manor may have gotten itself its first mascot!

To say Rosa Shelton loves horses is an understatement. It’s more like she lives for horses.

“When my dad retired from the Navy, he built his dream house near Goddard. When I came along, I decided I really wanted a horse, so he sold that house and bought a farm near Hutchinson so I could have one. And now I have five of my own,” said Rosa.

Rosa’s passion for horses has even crossed over into her professional life lately, and everyone is benefitting.

“I’ve worked for Kindred Hospice for three years now, but before that I was an aide at the nursing home in Inman. I’d seen where other communities had therapy animals, so I decided to try it with Maggie,” said Rosa.

Maggie is Rosa’s 19-year-old horse, and has been at Rosa’s side for many, many years.

“I’ve had Maggie since I was three years old. She’s a one-of-a-kind horse. It’s like she knows what I’m thinking. We don’t have to speak words; she reads my mind,” said Rosa.

It’s Maggie’s keen ability to read others’ emotions that makes her a phenomenal therapy animal, but Rosa could see Maggie’s ability to help others many years ago.

“When I was younger, we had a neighbor with a grandson with special needs. He was in wheelchair, and Maggie just walked right up to him and nuzzled his face. He laughed and laughed.”

Rosa has seen a similar effect on the faces of residents in both Inman and right here at Sterling Presbyterian Manor.

“One of the times I took her to Inman, it was a warmer day, and a lot of the residents had straw hats on. Maggie would pick up their hats softly off their head. It was so funny. And one gentleman who had a lot of behaviors really took to Maggie. He grabbed her by each side of her halter, and nuzzled her face with his. We’d never seen him respond to any person that way.” We’re grateful Rosa is sharing the fabulous Maggie with us, and look forward to her visits again!