Amanda Hogan, a PATH Intl. Certified Master Instructor, and PATH Intl. Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning (ESMHL), ESMHL lead faculty member, chair of the ESMHL Certification Subcommittee and executive director of Windrush Therapeutic Farm, shared her thoughts on retired polo ponies. “Windrush’s founder Marj Kittredge started this program in 1964 with two retired polo ponies and an off-the-track Thoroughbred who became a terrific therapeutic riding horse. You just never know. With the right temperament and training, horses will surprise you. We have probably had about 10 more retired polo ponies in the time I have been here. There have been a few who have been too hot for our use and did not make the cut, but that can happen with any breed or discipline,” stated Hogan.
Happy Trails Hawaii Horse Ranch, owned by Mark and Tammy Becker, graciously volunteered to start an Equestrian Assisted Psychotherapy program to help wounded warriors. The program’s horses are actively playing polo ponies and some are retired polo ponies. Sarah Teske is a US Marine, a certified EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning) instructor, plus she is a polo player. Sarah helped build this program. This program hosts horse sessions for wounded warriors. Sarah said, “Sometimes horses have a better idea of what to do than the humans. Also the director of Happy Trails witnessed a miraculous moment between a wounded warrior with PTSD and a horse. It was the first time in 6 months, since the kid came off the battlefield that he has smiled. —The horses are magical”.