Our next inductee is in the Large Animal Therapy Category. Indius, better known as Indy or Mr. Magnificent, lives on Converse Bay Farm in Charlotte, VT and is owned by Ellen Miller. He is a 27 year old black Trakehner gelding and was nominated by VVMA member veterinarian Dr. Liz Poulsen.
Indy is a horse who dances! Schooled to Grand Prix level dressage, Indy is a regular participant and premier solo demonstrator in the summer Mozart Festival’s opening night dressage performance. Does everyone know what dressage is? It is a discipline of art and dance that a horse and rider perform in partnership, a form of ballet on horseback. Very subtle signals, called aids, from the rider instruct the horse to perform very difficult moves, yet the horse makes the movement look fluid and easy, like dancing! Often times the performance is done to music. Well, Indy participates in top level dressage competition and has also shared the spotlight in the “Dances with Horses” series.
However, this is not the most unique aspect of Indy’s personality. While being able to interpret very tiny aids resulting in magnificent dance steps, Indy also has the intelligence, gentleness, patience, and sure-footedness to be a mount for those coping with devastating physical illnesses and disabilities. With these illnesses come awkward and jerky movements, flailing mounts and dismounts, and inappropriate signals, yet Indy can distinguish the moves and deliver a ride as smooth as if he “were carrying a china teacup on his back”. As one of Indy’s nomination letters states so exquisitely, “It is as if he is saying, ‘Here, come with me. I’ll show you everything that is light and bright and beautiful in the world! Forget about everything else…. There are no problems, no right or wrong way, just you and me, and we are going to have some FUN!’ He will take care of you without question, not because you asked, but because he wants to.”
Indy has truly made a difference in many people’s lives. He has allowed those who are burdened by malfunctioning bodies, no longer allowing simple movements, to become free again and move with ease. And after a day’s work, Indy can be found back at Converse Bay Farm at rest, the same back that so powerfully carried a human to freedom of movement is now offered as a warm bed to the resident barn cat.
Indius was nominated for the Vermont Animal Hall of Fame without Ellen knowing about the nomination. We hope that Ellen is enjoying her surprise.
The VVMA is proud to induct Indy, truly Mr. Magnificent, into the Vermont Animal Hall of Fame in the Large Animal Therapy Category.