By Judy Epperson and Susan Shampine
It was apparent the boy was upset when he got off the school bus at Mini-Blessings. He went straight to the corner of the arena to be alone. While his eyes filled with tears, the young mare Aurora came over to him, put her muzzle over his shoulder and stood nuzzling his neck, providing him with the non-judgmental affection he needed just then. Before long, he put his arms around her neck, buried his face in her fur and cried. After a couple of minutes he slowly stood and joined the group of other students working with their miniature horses at the other end of the arena. By the end of the ninety-minute session, he was running and jumping with Aurora; a smile on his face and ready to face the rest of the day.
This is the work of Mini-Blessings (MB), a non-profit organization co-founded by Crissey Smith and Susan Shampine. The 3.7 acre facility is located just outside Buena Vista and serves the residents of Chaffee County and Central Colorado. The primary goal of MB is to share the magic of miniature horses with special needs children, at risk youth, and just about anyone who can benefit from close contact with a kind-spirited, non-judgmental being.