When the Gentle Carousel miniature horse therapy charity posted a photo of a child with a horse named Sparkle, probably the last thing they expected was that the following day they would have to do a post about how it’s not okay to verbally attack kids for the color of their skin. While most people responded to the adorable photo of the kid and therapy horse with support and love, there were some social media users who spewed hatred at the child. So much so that the Gentle Carousel team had to delete their comments and ban them.

“When our horses make a hospital visit they do not care about a patient’s race, politics, finances, or religion. They love unconditionally. Some humans could learn a lot from little horses,” the Gentle Carousel team wrote, suggesting that all of us could stand to be a bit more equine.

Gentle Carousel’s Education Director Debbie Garcia-Bengochea told Bored Panda that the charity has never had to deal with comments like this before. “The therapy horses are loved by children and adults, and our social media has always been a positive and safe place for people of all ages.” Scroll down for the rest of the interview and to learn more about the therapy horses, including Sparkle.

More info: Facebook | Instagram | GentleCarouselTherapyHorses.com

The Gentle Carousel charity posted this photo on June 9

Image credits: Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses

A lot of people thought that the photo was beautiful. However, there were some haters out there. The charity addressed this issue in their next post

Garcia-Bengochea told us that Sparkle is 14 years old and started training with the charity as a foal. “He works with Gentle Carousel’s literacy program inside schools, libraries, with mentoring programs, at literacy events and at education resource centers in high crime neighborhoods. The program has a special focus on at-risk readers. Sparkle also works inside hospitals, hospice programs, and assisted living programs.”

She continued: “The therapy horses work no more than two days a week and live with a lifelong herd where they can run and play over many acres. They live a very natural life. Sparkle has a best friend named Circus that he has lived with since they were both foals. They do many reading programs for children together.”

The charity’s Education Director confirmed to Bored Panda that they currently have 21 therapy horses in the US. “Working indoors would be a challenge for any horse but Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses make it look easy, even in high rise hospital buildings, schools, and convention centers. The therapy horses walk up and down steps, ride in elevators, walk on unusual floor surfaces, carefully move around hospital and television studio equipment, work in small patient rooms and stay calm around unexpected sounds like ambulances, alarms, and hospital helicopters… and yes they are house trained,” she went into detail.

“The therapy horses go through a two-year basic in-hospital training program but are always learning new skills. The horses work with medical professionals in oncology units, the ICU, and with occupational, speech and physical therapists as part of the treatment for patients who have suffered strokes, traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, amputations, and burns.”

This is Sparkle, one of the 21 miniature therapy horses

Image credits: Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses

The miniature horse therapy page also deleted anyone who commented that the child’s face mask should be removed. They also pointed out that wearing a face mask isn’t a political statement but one of compassion.

Miniature horses live between 25 to 35 years old, like usual horses and ponies. Diet is very important for miniature horses, so Gentle Carousel gives them plenty of pasture time. That’s easy to do considering that the charity is based in Florida where the weather is great.

Gentle Carousel is one of the biggest equine therapy programs on Earth. Each year, teeny teams of tiny horses visit more than 25k children and adults in hospitals and hospice programs. The tiny horses also visit veterans and first responders who have been traumatized in their line of duty.

The charity also runs a literacy program—Reading Is Magic. Mentors work with young readers alongside horses to help raise the literacy rate in high crime neighborhoods.

One of the best-known horses is Magic who has helped families and first responders who were affected by events at Sandy Hook Elementary School, as well as by what happened at the Pulse nightclub. Magic is a real hero-horse.

Gentle Carousel does everything for free, doesn’t receive any funding, and relies solely on donations.

Here’s how people reacted when they heard about the haters

Even more people came out in support of the charity