At only 14 inches tall, Itty Bitty Hope has tied the world record for the smallest horse ever born. Her owners, Linda and Jim Wood, told Country Living that she will most likely never grown to be more than 25 inches tall.
But her small size isn’t the only thing that sets this tiny foal apart from other horses.
Since she was born in June of 2015, the Woods had big plans for their tiny horse. They wanted to get Itty Bitty Hope trained and registered as a therapy horse, so she might be able to bring some comfort and happiness to both children and adults who are battling various ailments.
The therapy program training Itty Bitty Hope is called Mini Hooves of Love. This Texas-based non-profit gives people who are living in nursing homes, hospitals, shelters, and hospices the opportunity to interact with these miniature horses in an attempt to improve their quality of life.
The Woods are a part of the Registered Therapy Animal Team, and have been passionately working with Mini Hooves of Love for years. They firmly believe that contact with these trained horses is extremely therapeutic and beneficial, especially for children and the elderly.
“One man who had been a farmer had tears in his eyes as he pet one of the horses. He said he hadn’t touched a horse in 16 years,” Linda said in her interview with Country Living.
Science would definitely support the thoughts of the Woods and the mission of Mini Hooves of Love. Studies have found that any interaction with therapy animals (whether it’s a dog or horse) helps to improve blood pressure, heart health, overall physical pain, depression, anxiety, and general mental health.
Currently, Itty Bitty Hope is undergoing her training to prepare for the life of a therapy animal. Linda rocks and handles Hope regularly, the kids play with her inside the house, and she is being trained to interact with other animals and handle different surfaces like tile and carpet.
The Woods are hoping that because of Itty Bitty Hope’s extra small size, she may be one of the more effective therapy horses. Considering that Itty Bitty is so small she can fit into most buildings AND be adorably cradled like an infant, we’re going to have to agree!
Hopefully, Itty Bitty will be the shining star among this group of amazingly kind service animals that help to bring some comfort to those in need.