A mechanical hippotherapy horse, veterans find healing through horses, and more must-read equine therapy stories of the week.

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black and white photo of young girl kissing horse on nose with text "Weekly Roundup: Must-read equine therapy stories of the week"

Welcome to the Hope in the Saddle link roundup, where we share our favorite horse stories from around the web. If there's a story you think should be included, email it to lfeldman@aimmedia.com!

Some very smart students at Rice University have created a mechanical horse that provides the benefits of hippotherapy to riders who can't access real horse. His name is Stewie. (c|net)

In Florida, miniature horses from Healing Hoofs Therapy Horses bring big smiles to hospice patients. Look at those photos! (TCPalm)

More minis! These little guys from Mane in Heaven are helping to promote inclusion and diversity at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library in Chicago. (Daily Herald)

Speaking of miniature horses, Mr. Buttons from Hooves of Hope teaches students about bullying and respect. (Commercial-News)

Basil is a Shetland, not a mini, thankyouverymuch. Ornery, wonderful Basil helped his owner through the grieving process after the death of her father. (Hope In the Saddle)

Gonna leave this right here for the smiles:

Riders showed off their skills at the Rosewood Ranch Rodeo! (Great Bend Tribune)

And these riders are getting ready for the Special Olympics State Horse Show in Gainesville. (CBS 46)

Veteran Sam Rhodes served in the Army for 29 years, and readjusting to civilian life was difficult. Therapists helped when his thoughts turned to suicide, but it was his stepdaughter's horse who made a big difference. Now he helps others in the same position through Warrior Outreach. (CNN)

Related: Saratoga WarHorse expands to Maryland! (Saratoga Today)

Across the pond, donkeys at The Donkey Sanctuary are doing some wonderful work. (Horsetalk.nz)

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