Miniature horse gives joy at children's hospital

NEW YORK, USA (Reuters) - For these young patients, healing comes in the form of a tiny horse.

Honor, a miniature horse standing just 79 centimetres tall is at Mount Sinai's Kravis Children's hospital in New York with a mission, to delight patients such as Maria Benitez who has been looking forward to this visit for days.

"Did you think he was bigger or smaller than you thought?" asked a reporter.

"Yes, smaller," Maria said.

Maria's mother Natalia is happy with Honor's visit too.

"For us and for her it is something we are very grateful for," she said. "Because being with this kid is hard, I work every day. So these little things makes us really happy."

The 10-month-old is with Gentle Carousel, a non-profit organisation that sends tiny equines to ailing children in hospitals around the country.

According to Diane Rode, who heads the child creative arts therapy unit, Honor brings a different energy to the hospital environment.

"When you are in the hospital when you are dealing with pain, anxiety, isolation it's easy to get stuck in that somehow," she said. "And I think focusing on the animals, and in this case miniature horses it creates a relationship back out to the world, and an interest and pleasure in the world that we really looking to foster."

So horsing around the hospital sometimes has its benefits.