Cassia in the News

Trinity Springs’ resident Don Huling poses with Magic, a therapy horse.

Resident Celebrates 100th Birthday with Magic

Trinity Springs’ resident Don Huling celebrated his 100th birthday with family and friends in February 2024. While Don was clearly the guest of honor, another guest drew a lot of attention, as well.

As Magic entered the party at the assisted living community in Oxford, FL, the black and white miniature horse went straight to Don. She put her head on his lap so he could pet her, as Don’s daughters looked on.

Don and Magic have a special bond.

It started a few years earlier when Magic first visited the community. Don, a World War II veteran, gravitated toward Magic right away. They became such good friends that Don appeared in a documentary about Magic titled “Hero Horse: A Magical True Story.” He also participated in the movie premiere for the film, complete with a red carpet.

Magic is a therapy horse from a nonprofit organization in Ocala called Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses. Volunteers take teams of horses to assisted living communities to brighten residents’ days.

Many people recognize Magic because of everything she has done in her career as a therapy horse.

She brought comfort to survivors and first responders of mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Pulse nightclub and Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. She has also helped others in the wake of tornados in Moore, OK; fires in Gatlinburg, TN; and a condo collapse in Surfside, FL. This is in addition to visiting thousands of patients in children’s hospitals and veterans’ hospitals across the country.

Magic set the tone for Don’s birthday party.

“She loves to be around Don,” said Gentle Carousel volunteer Marcianna Basco, of the Village of Briar Meadow. “We want this to be something special for both of them.”

The staff at Trinity Springs felt the same way, which is why they made sure Magic was at the party. Party planners leaned into the horse theme, with a large basket of birthday cards from the surrounding community dubbed “Pony Express.”

While Magic’s appearance at the party was brief, Don appreciated it, and he was grateful for everyone who attended. He said it was a nice party with many good friends and he recommended living to be 100 to everyone.