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Phia June 26, 1987 – November 29 , 2009 “The serenity of the stable is pierced by the child’s excited voice. All ears in the stable swivel.The child is blind to all the other horses except his. She moves over the stall door offering a warm nuzzle always welcoming. Surely she remembers this childs challenge’s - the volatile moods, quick rough actions but she has resolve and quiet dignity. She is wise beyond much human comprehension. This majestic cream colored horse makes her way into hearts where few have been allowed. This horse uses her love to heal children. This horse is Phia.” Therapy horses are a rare and special breed unto themselves, but occasionally there comes a horse that is so exceptional that she deserves special recogniton. Such was our Norwegian Fjordhorse, Phia, honored in 2001 by the North American Riding for the Handicapped Assoc. ( NARHA) as Therapy Horse of the Year in the New England Region. Phia came to Flying Changes Center for Therapeutic Riding in Topsham Maine in 1996. She was a registered white dun Fjordhorse from Fjord Gate Farm in Norway, Maine, sired by Modellen and foaled by Aasa. Sometimes it takes a while to develop the trust bond between instructor and pony. Not so here. Phia just leapt into the hearts of all and her reliability and versatility guaranteed that she became a staff favorite. She worked with hundreds of special needs children and adults in her eleven year career at Flying Changes, sometimes riding, vaulting, jumping, other times being cared for and loved, ever aware of the biggest and the smallest, always gentle and kind. The Center dissolved the summer of 2009 and horses were scattered. Ultimately Steve Akeley took Phia in, kept his promise of forever and treated her well. For the compassion and generosity which come so naturally to Steve, we are eternally grateful. Phia was our unfailing friend, our trusted and revered partner and our colleague extraordinaire. We celebrate her life and the gifts she gave freely to uplift the lives of many.
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"An owner of a Tennessee Walking Horse once said that his horse reminded him of a lightning rod, for, as he rode, all the sorrows of his heart flowed down through the splendid muscles of his horse and were grounded in the earth." - Marguerite Henry
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