Horses helps brighten patients’ lives, ease pain in Chicago suburbs

NILES, Ill. — Horses that are normally used at race tracks in the Chicago area are being used to help patients with mental and physical disabilities.

Fourteen-year-old thoroughbred Eddie and his handler, Alan Love, spend most of their time at Arlington Park assisting race horses.

But they also assist those in need and spend time with hospice and palliative care patients at Avanti Wellness & Rehabilitation in Niles.

Participants are able to learn more about the very gentle giants and put their own pain aside for a while.

Dr. Jasmine Chao helps run the program and hopes the noninvasive interaction reduces the amount of pain medication a patient needs. Chao said not only does the therapy distract patients from their own health hurdles, it helps them overcome other issues.