A group of Northern Virginia high schoolers with autism are getting some help from an unlikely source: miniature horses.
The horses are a part of Project Horse’s Mobile Minis Team, which traverses the region to bring comfort to those who need it most, such as students with special needs and teens dealing with depression.
In an autism support classroom at Park View High School in Sterling, Virginia, tiny miniature horse Fiona Fudge made a big entrance Monday. For her visit to the school, this young member of the Mobile Minis team made a statement with flowered hair pieces and pink hoof guards.
Darcy Woessner, who founded Project Horse in 2008, said she loves both children and horses. She has been bringing the horses to schools with volunteers’ help for the last three years.
"To have the opportunity to have my two passions combined couldn’t be any better," Woessner said.
At Park View High School, both Fiona Fudge and the classroom’s usual occupants were nervous about the encounter. But with Woessner’s encouragement, the room was quickly full of smiles as students gained the courage to approach Fionia.
"They’re more confident, [and] they work better as a team," said Lauren Kloman, the students’ teacher.
According to Project Horse’s website, Fionia Fudge is one of three members of the Mobile Minis team. Her online profile describes her as outgoing and a budding abstract painter.