Fred The Mini Horse Brings Smiles To Little Faces While Visiting Michigan Children’s Hospitals

by Kelly Glass
Kelly Glass is a writer whose work focuses on the intersections of parenting, health, and pop culture. She lives in an Illinois college town with her educator husband, wildly ambitious sons, dog, and several fish. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, Romper,, HelloGiggles,, What to Expect, and more.

Fred, a mini horse, made his appearance at the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, capturing all of the attention.

The miniature horse belongs to Little Horses Big Smiles, a nonprofit organization out of Fremont, Michigan. The adorable mini horse is in training to become a service animal. He served a good purpose as he made his way around to do his floor visits. “We bring the horses because it’s a lot of fun for the kids,” Ronica Froese, who runs the nonprofit, said. “I love volunteering for the kids. We visit once a month for the children. It’s a joy like no other.”

Fred makes his rounds wearing shoes over his hooves and a vest covering him that identifies him as a therapy animal. The friendly horse is 14 months old, which makes him just about the same age as some of the kids he comforts. “I think he was excited to see Fred the pony come in today,” said Kelly Dykstra, whose son Elliot had the opportunity to meet little Fred. “It was nice to get out of the room and be interactive.”

Fred also makes his way around to other children’s hospitals in the nearby area to visit with kids who could use a lift in spirits. See how Fred brings the smiles to children’s faces in the video.

Footage provided by WXMI Grand Rapids

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