‘America’s Got Talent’ for miniature horses provides training for therapy animals

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NOBLE, Okla. -- These animals are way too small to ride, even for kids like Brianna Reed.

But that doesn't mean they're useless.

"How smart is this horse?" asks a visitor.

Brianna replies, "Um. He's pretty smart."

At Flames to Home Equine Assisted Services, these horses provide therapy, they honor veterans, and even do a thing owner Ron King calls, "tactical team building."

Child volunteers help train miniature horses to go out into the community and handle whatever comes their way with the ultimate composure.

So taking them through an obstacle course helps.

But that course also became a means an end.

This kind of training revealed all sorts of abilities even King didn't know they had.

Think of a big dog with hooves and you're close.

"Housetraining them isn't bad," he smiles. "If you want to enjoy the full horse you can bring them inside like we do."

The secret to training, they say, is repetition.

And you have to try not to miss a day if you can help it.

Young trainer Madison Howard explains, "Probably like most every day but kind of not every day."

Once in a while, these kinds of miniature horses get together for a talent show.

Owners show off new tricks they've taught.

They even have a friendly costume competition.

These horses and young trainers are heading toward something they call 'Minis Got Talent.'

"I have to win the trophy for this challenge," says trainer J.P. Rodriguez.

King says, "Basically, it's like America's Got Talent but with miniature horses."

So who cares if you can't ride them?

A miniature horse can still be part of the family or really close.

"It's like having a best friend," says Ryan Reed. "That's how I think of it."

The next 'Minis Got Talent' get together takes place Saturday, July 13 at Holly's Equine Services in Guthrie.

Click here to find out more about Flames to Hope or the show.

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