Raleigh therapy horses set to march in Washington’s Cherry Blossom Parade

Tara Needham


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A group of Raleigh horses will be galloping down to Washington on Thursday to march in the Cherry Blossom Parade, but they’re not your typical horses.

“I’ve always wanted to do this,” said Tara Needham, owner of Stampede of Love. “I ran into minis, kind of discovered them a little later on and my whole goal when I purchased a mini was to get one that I could do this with.”

Needham has been around horses since she was a little girl. Fifteen years ago, she started “Stampede of Love,” a volunteer organization that provides animal assisted therapy with its team of miniature horses.

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“So we take them to schools, hospitals, special events, parades, fundraisers all over to kind of educate people on how animal assisted therapy can be beneficial,” Needham said.

She says it’s something she’s always wanted to do.

“Last December, we went to Duke University to visit a terminally ill patient and she had been around horses her whole life and she had not seen a horse in months,” said Needham. “So, we walked into the gardens there and they brought her out and she just lightened up.”

On Thursday morning Lola and the rest of these miniature horses will be making their way to our nation’s capital to march in the Cherry Blossom Parade.

“We’re very excited!”

This is the team’s first time walking in this parade, but they’re no strangers to dressing up and strutting their stuff. Needham says parades are a great way to spread the word about their cause.

“When people first see them they’re kind of shocked,” she said. “They’re so tiny and they’re like, ‘that’s definitely not a dog.’ My minis are very calm very gentle they love to be loved on.”

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