Gretle the horse - along with Rory, Roman, and Merlin the mini-horses - help kids with special needs, veterans and first responders through therapy at Equine Escape in Goodrich.
“If you have an autistic child, learning left and right, turning the horse, that’s very important. They’re learning problem-solving skills, learning how to follow directions and learning how to communicate. Through us and the horses,” said Ted Gilmour.
Gilmour and his wife are the founders of Equine Escape.
It was through fate, they met another family of horse enthusiasts and were gifted with some special saddles.
“That actual saddle, a soldier was sitting in that saddle,” Gilmour said. “They may not look like a lot. They may not seem like a lot. But to us, they mean a lot."
The saddles were the pride and joy of John Sparkman, a man from Gladwin, whose hobby was fixing up old saddles before he died. His wife wanted to give the saddles to somebody who would love and appreciate them.
“Just sitting and talking with her and hearing about her husband about the pride he put in his work, makes me extremely honored to be in possession of these things,” Gilmour said.
They set a saddle with the American flag, it serves as a welcome home to veterans who walk through the barn doors and soon the Gilmours will add another Sparkman gift to their collection - the cart and buggy John restored.
They’ll be picking up the cart soon. Until then, they’ll be keeping the Sparkman's legacy alive and helping people at the farm.