Therapy Horse of the Week: Gunner

Harper and Gunner are the best of buds. Photo courtesy of L. Cooke.

My daughter Harper was diagnosed with Sotos Syndrome in January of 2016. This specific syndrome causes her to have a major speech delay resulting in what has been years of speech therapy. While that has helped, something was missing.

Harper was introduced to Gunner in 2019 and they became fast friends. Although she had been riding other horses with Rising Stars, the connection she had with Gunner was undeniable. Her speech started to improve almost immediately!

Read More: [Therapy Horse of the Week: Sonny]

Read More: [How a Therapy Horse Helped a Stroke Survivor Heal]

The two of them quickly developed a routine starting with Harper leading him around the arena and telling him about her day. Gunner would follow her lead and seemed to listen very intently about whatever she was chatting about. At the end of their session, Harper would wrap her arms around Gunner’s legs and he would bow his head down to her as if he were hugging her back.

According to Gunner’s owner, Gina, he awaits Harper’s arrival all day long and is rather edgy until she gets there. Then he calms right down. His sweet disposition is enough to make him love anyone, but for my Harper girl, he happens to love her the most.

– L. Cooke

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