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  • The Life of our Oldest Therapy Horse

    Last updated: June 27, 2019

    The We Can Ride horse is a very exceptional creature. He needs the strength and balance of an athlete, the patience of a dear friend and the tranquility of an understanding spirit

    When we find a horse like that we know we have discovered an extraordinary gem. And some of our horses so embody the highest gifts of an equine therapy partner that we know they were destined to come to us.
    So it is with Derby. At 30 years old – the rough equivalent of an 85-year-old human – Derby is the oldest of our herd. He has lived a long life of service and companionship to a handful of lucky humans. 

    Headshot of Derby

    Our old man is a Missouri Fox Trotter, a breed developed in the 1800s. Farmers in Missouri needed a dependable work horse, well built and hardy. They cross-bred an array of breeds, including Arabians, Morgans, Standardbreds and Tennessee Walking Horses.

    Derby is an exceedingly kind and gentle fellow. We knew Derby would be a great fit His prior owner of 15 years sold us on Derby when she told us her experience with him. She needed a trusted, easy-going trail horse and Derby was the perfect choice. He settled into her farm and became her adored travel companion. She took him on overnight trips, long day rides and adventures on trails throughout Minnesota. Derby was content wherever he was, always the calm leader and the favorite of horses and humans.

    Derby’s gait is one that is ideal for unbalanced riders who may have disabilities. The smooth, silky rhythm is less bumpy and easier to ride.

    Today Derby enjoys sunny days in his paddock with his pal, Jasper. He especially looks forward to special groundwork sessions with clients who are unable to ride but still need the healing touch of a gentle equine soul.
    Countless clients and volunteers have been touched by Derby’s sweet disposition. When he comes to greet you, with his large, bright brown eyes and slightly sideways ears, he wraps you in the most wonderful smile of greeting you will ever receive from a horse.

    We salute Master Derby as a timeless friend who is an absolute equine therapy treasure.

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