‘I have a photo of us together in a frame at home from when I met him three years ago. It was so nice to see him again’, says Margaret enthusiastically while stroking his back. ‘He is so patient with everyone touching him’. Maverick also loves the camera says his owner Ellen, so he eagerly poses for a new photo.
Maverick is a five-year-old miniature therapy horse. He got his name from the movie Top Gun due to him having a goose-shaped white patch on his left-hand side. Maverick has worked as a therapy horse for three years, which is impressive for such a young horse according to his owner Ellen Winters.
‘He is just perfect for the job as he loves people. He is also very confident both with people and in small places like the club house here at Monash’, says Ellen while Maverick nods in agreement.
Monash and Crace Day Clubbers got to pat and talk to Maverick and for many it brought back memories of owning and riding horses themselves while for others it was simply exciting to have a horse visiting inside the day club.
‘It’s unusual to have a small horse inside the club house’, says Margaret with a smile.
‘There is an element of surprise when Maverick comes inside for a visit. It’s something people don’t expect’, says Ellen.
After the first round of meet and greet with the Day Clubbers Ellen shows off his special boots that are custom made for his small hooves. ‘He needs shoes inside so he doesn’t trip on the floor.’
Ellen says therapy horses have many benefits. ‘It has been shown that horse therapy can reduce your heart rate and stress levels and they can also help with improving memory.’
Celeste, Day Club Officer at Monash says the Day Clubbers have been excited about the visit. ‘It has brought back memories from the past as some people grew up on a farm and were riding horses when they were young. This is something they will talk about for a long time.’
When Maverick is not working as a therapy horse, he lives in a paddock with his four-legged friends at Lyndonlea Equine in Bungendore. Ellen and her mother Nerida run the equine business offering riding lessons, a variety of horse training and farm visits along with miniature horse visits.
After the visit, Maverick gently walks out and back on to the horse float that will take him home to the paddock. ‘I think he is ready for a nap now,’ says Ellen while patting him as reward for a successful day at work.