PALS Muckboot Blog

Learn All About Lola the Horse!

July 25th, 2016

Lola is one of the favorites here at PALS. She was born on February 14, 2004. She was given to PALS as a yearling and lived out her early years at the Bonchek family farm. Before entering the PALS program, Lola was trained to be approved for therapeutic riding.

Lola is a Haflinger Pony. Haflingers were bred in the late 1800’s in the Tyrolean Mountain region, what is now Austria. The name “Haflinger” comes from the Italian village, Hafling. The breed is a cross between a half-Abrabian stallion and native mountain pony. Today, in Austria, the government owns all the Haflinger stallions while the farmers keep the mares. Because of this, the Haflinger is considered a very high-quality breed. They are known to be able to work into their late thirties and live into their forties. They have a distinct chestnut coloring with different shades, white blaze, and a blonde colored mane and tail.

A lot of people comment on Lola’s unique mane and tail. It is so incredibly thick and beautiful when it is long and grown out, but it sure makes her sweaty on those hot summer months. On hot days, Lola rocks a “mohawk,” which helps her stay cooler. As PALS Executive Director, Fern Goodman, puts it, “She looks like a life-size ‘My Little Pony!’” People often ask why Lola has dapples on her coat even though she is a Haflinger. When PALS received Lola she had experienced a bad case of rain rot. After her treatment, the coat grew back in a different color!

Lola has many wonderful memories with her volunteers, clients, and horse buddies. One year, during the Pledge For Our PALS fundraising campaign, PALS client, Lorene, raised money for Lola. Her parents made her a t-shirt that read Team Lola. “It was so cute and everyone loved it!” recalls Fern. During the most recent SADDLES Camp, we had a six-year-old rider who grew very attached to Lola. One day, when Lola got sick and did not want to eat, the camper helped our Facility Manager, Katie Correia, give Lola medicine and learned how to take the pony’s temperature. She asked to check on Lola later that day and offered to walk her around to help her feel better. Everyone at PALS is happy to have Lola around the barn. She is a very reliable and trustworthy pony who is well-loved.
Published: July 25, 2016

Highlights From SADDLES Summer Camps!

July 21st, 2016

Published: July 21, 2016

Meet Our Summer Client of the Quarter: Kaylee!

July 19th, 2016

I have been working with Kaylee for two Quarters now. Kaylee started as a rider with PALS at the age of five. She is now 22! When we developed the new Horsemanship Program, Kaylee was one of our first clients to try it out. When therapy horse, Spirit, fell asleep in her lap, she was hooked!

Our volunteers really enjoy being a part of Kaylee’s sessions. We share a lot of joy watching her crush goal after goal! One of Kaylee’s current goals is to keep her neck straight. At PALS, she is working on her spinal alignment which helps her develop the strength to hold up her head.

Just a few weeks ago, Kaylee was able to use her strength and flexibility to remove tack from Spirit with minimal help from me. Kaylee’s second goal since starting the Horsemanship Program, was to walk four steps in a row while holding onto Stella’s neck for support. In one of our most inspiring times together, she stood up independently and not only proceeded to walk those four steps down the aisle, but continued to walk over 100 steps! We lost count of how many. In this moment, I was speechless!

Kaylee has enjoyed meeting all of our therapy horses during her time in the Horsemanship Program. I look forward to her sessions each week. Kaylee and I always end our time together by smiling! Her motivation is contagious; she is a client who makes me want to be a better instructor.

– Lizzie, PALS Head Instructor

Herald Times Covers PALS’ Barn Cats

July 18th, 2016

Bloomington Animal Shelter Looking at Barn Cat Program to Help Solve Feline Overload

By Lauren Slavin 812-331-4376 |
Photos and Video by Jeremy Hogan | Herald Times

Bloomington, IN – Lizzie Cochrane could hear meowing coming from the barn loft. Which was strange, considering that the barn’s sole occupant was supposed to be a horse.

Cochrane, head instructor at People and Animal Learning Services, climbed up a small wooden ladder and scanned the barn’s second floor. She saw Matilda, the short-haired calico cat whom staff had grown accustomed to seeing roaming the nonprofit’s fields and small barn.

But Matilda, typically a loner and fearful of people, wasn’t nestled in the hay by herself.

“We saw at least two to three little kitten heads poking up,” Cochrane remembers.

Matilda is similar to many of the cats that find their way to the Bloomington Animal Shelter. Neighbors with good intentions manage to capture a stray and turn it in to the shelter, hoping the cat will be returned to its owner or successfully adopted.

But some of these animals have “pretty much lived their whole life independently outside in the street,” said Virgil Sauder, director of Bloomington Animal Care and Control. Feral cats (truly wild animals that have never been domesticated) and “community cats” (which may have been domesticated at one point, but now prefer living outside with limited human contact) don’t thrive in a kennel setting.

“Having that kind of confinement and lack of freedom can be difficult for them,” Sauder said.

A difficult cat doesn’t show well on the adoption floor, and summer is the time of year when the shelter needs the most cats to be adopted. Kittens are born in the late spring, and the shelter has nearly doubled its intake of cats since the start of summer, Sauder said.

While adopters continue to come to the shelter looking to bring home new kittens, adult and less friendly cats are left behind, sometimes long enough that the shelter has to euthanize them to make room for more animals.

“You have a lot of cute kittens. Not a lot of people are looking for older cats,” Sauder said. “Our options for those cats are either to do our best to find a placement, or we’re looking at euthanasia.”

There is, however, another adoption tactic that has worked in rural areas such as Brown County and that the Bloomington Animal Shelter hopes to emulate: a barn cat program. Most feral and outdoor cats aren’t interested in sitting on laps indoors, but they would be happy exploring a large farm or warehouse and chasing away pests.

“You have a very agile, effective hunter,” Sauder said. “For centuries, cats on farms have been used for that reason.”

The shelter identifies the cats with the survival skills necessary to live outdoors, and if a homeowner can provide food, water and a place for the cat to stay warm and dry during inclement weather, the shelter waives the adoption fee.

“They may not have a lot of time for a pet, but know they can provide shelter, food and water to completely take care of this animal,” said Sue Ann Werling, president of the Brown County Humane Society. “It’s all about finding a solution for that kitty.”

The shelters also ensure that these cats are vaccinated and spayed or neutered before going to their new homes. Matilda, the cat living in PALS’ small barn, had a litter of five kittens. It doesn’t take long for those kittens to multiply, Sauder said.

For years, the Brown County Humane Society’s Serving Pets Outreach Team, in collaboration with Pets Alive, has been trapping and spaying or neutering pets and feral cats in an effort to keep the county’s kitten population down. Last year, SPOT spayed or neutered 336 domestic cats and 39 feral cats.

“Naturally, over time, you’re going to decrease intakes coming into the shelter,” Werling said.

PALS’ barn is home to its equine therapy horses, as well as several privately boarded horses. In between the stables and arena, you can also find Patti, a fluffy, long haired, brown-and-white cat who keeps the barn free from mice that can spook the horses.

“As long as you provide food and water for them, they’re pretty content,” Cochrane said. “The ones that are truly feral and don’t want to have any human contact, we can still provide all they need.”

Another barn cat, Willow, tends to stay out of sight, but also roams the barn, sweeping up cobwebs with her tail and eating bugs. Matilda, now spayed, will stay in the small barn with one of her kittens, who will be fixed as soon as it’s old enough. The other four kittens are set to be spayed or neutered and privately adopted.

“This is her last litter of kittens, but her legacy lives on,” Cochrane said of Matilda.

Published: July 1, 2016


July 15th, 2016

3951 N. Meridian St. | Indianapolis, IN | 46208 | |317-254-2400


Ed Wenck, Managing Editor
Joey Smith, Promotions Coordinator



INDIANAPOLIS (April 29, 2016) — This year, the NUVO Cultural Vision Awards will honor a total of 19 members of the Central Indiana community who are tirelessly working to make our state a better place to live.

Among our CVA “Trailblazer” winners in the field of Sports for 2016:

P.A.L.S. (People and Animal Learning Services) — This Bloomington group provides equine therapy for those with disabilities, especially kids. The group serves 60 clients each week with help from a pool of 150 volunteers.

Look for a profile of all of our honorees in the June 8 edition of NUVO.

Beginning in 1998 the Cultural Vision Awards have had at least two goals in mind. The first was to recognize individuals and organizations in this city doing innovative work. The NUVO Cultural Vision Awards are about shining a light on the talented people and creative enterprises. Our second goal for the awards can be summed up in a single word: community.

The awards will be presented on the evening of June 7, 2016 at the Indiana Landmarks Center, 1201 Central Ave., Indianapolis. We’ll gather for cocktails and appetizers at 5 p.m., and the reception will be followed by a ceremony at 6 p.m.

About NUVO

For more than 25 years, NUVO — the name’s a play on “new voices” — has been Indy’s alternative voice. NUVO’s mission statement is pretty simple: to empower intelligent, open-minded innovators through storytelling.

Indiana’s largest independent alternative news organization, NUVO is created by and for people who love our community, our culture and our environment. NUVO’s staff has been focused on the company’s digital presence of late, and 2015 saw the unprecedented growth of The publication’s commitment to social justice and the environment has driven readership to new levels. NUVO strives to make its coverage of news, arts and cuisine as comprehensive as any outlet in Central Indiana, yet all of NUVO’s content remains free in print and online.



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