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Photos: Heartland Students De-Stress With Mini Therapy Horses

Move over, therapy dogs. Heartland Community College is bringing in mini therapy horses.

The Normal college hosted mini therapy horses from the organization MiniVisits on Tuesday.

“We’ve scheduled the mini horse visit during the midterm when students are becoming more anxious,” Faye Freeman-Smith, director of Heartland's Student Counseling Services, said in a statement. “Many students are feeling stressed as they are dealing with midterm exams. As we have seen with our therapy dog visits, animal-assisted therapy can enhance a student’s mood, helping them center and refocus.”

Animal-assisted therapy uses small and large animals to help patients or individuals deal with mental, emotional and physical issues. In this case, the horses are intended as a stress-buster.

Heartland also has a weekly therapy dog session for students. Illinois State University offers a similar program, called PAWSitively Stress Free.

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Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.