My LAST PSA for the NPOs of Northeastern Pennsylvania was one I had been wanted to do from jump. Marley’s Mission grew out of a horrible event into a wonderful organization that helps children who are the victims of abuse, using what they call “equine therapy,” meaning they use the cues and actions of horses to help the children break down barriers (check out www.marleysmission.com). It’s amazing and when I was there they actually led me through a mock-session that was deeply affecting. I never felt one way or the other about horses, I mean, I knew they could hurt if they stepped on you, and we used to live next to horses I would occasionally feed corn stalks to, but otherwise, I could take ‘em or leave ‘em. Well, turns out horses are among the most empathetic creatures on God’s earth, and it’s uncanny how they pick up on the emotions of the kids, their parents, any ol’ body.
I felt like I couldn’t really get the feel of the place without actually seeing the horses interact with kids, but of course I couldn’t do that – even if they were willing, their parents wouldn’t be, and the whole nature of therapy prevents it anyhow. That’s why they walked me through a pseudo-session. I filmed the environs, the outdoor pasture, the indoor ring with the toys, the Equine Therapist (she was awesome) and the two horses. They’re so placid and peaceful. I also wanted to get the founder/director, April Loposky, who had been so eloquent at the Take Back the Night Rally, to say a few words. Plus she looks great on video.
This time I had actually brought a tripod, so back in the edit suite there was plenty to choose from. As I said previously I really like to see something moving when I shoot video, which is why I had the Equine Therapist entering the ring at the beginning. Of course the ponies chose that moment to become statues, but I reminded myself, it’s only 30 seconds. I took a lot of the pictures off the website, including the one at the end that makes me cry every time, the horse nuzzling the little girl. They really are empathetic. I particularly love the scene where I had set the camera in the corner of the indoor ring on the tripod, and one of the horses comes up and sticks his big nose right into the lens. Makes me laugh every time, although I was worried it might look a little scary.