Forever in our hearts, because love never dies
Surrounded by Love
In Memoriam –
Lead Therapy Horse Velvet
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Velvet
who died January 8, 2023 from complications of a traumatic injury.
He was an amazing Trakehner gelding who partnered with
psychologist Dr. Susan Edwards in the work of emotional healing
in children ages 6-12 who had experienced life trauma and profound loss. In the fourteen years since Team Velvet Inc. was founded, Velvet helped children cope with parent death, abandonment, disfigurement, loss of a loved one, witnessing violence, severe bullying and grief associated with suicide, among others.
Velvet’s gentle spirit, keen intelligence, kind nature and sense of humor reached out to the hearts of children and filled them with love. Parents and children alike remarked about the power of his loving nature. He had the soul of a champion.
Velvet’s love lives on in spirit as his friends and teammates Precious and Little Annie continue providing equine mental health therapy without fee to families as we expand our program and continue to empower children to overcome adversity.
Donations in memoriam honoring Velvet and supporting the ongoing work of Team Velvet Inc. can be made securely via PayPal or by mail to Team Velvet Inc., PO Box 268, Rocky Hill, NJ 08553.
A Poem in Memoriam:
The Grandest Foal by Anonymous
I'll lend you for a little while, my grandest foal, God said.
For you to love while he's alive, and mourn for when he's dead.
It may be one or twenty years, or days or months, you see.
But will you, til I take him back, Take care of him for me?
He'll bring his charms to gladden you and should his stay be brief, you'll have those treasured memories, as solace for your grief
I cannot promise he will stay, since all from earth return.
But there are lessons taught on earth I want this foal to learn.
I've looked the wide world over in my search for teachers true.
And from the throngs that crowd life's lanes, with trust, I have selected you. Now will you give him all your love?
Nor think the labor vain.
Nor hate me when I come to take him back again?
I know you'll give him tenderness and love will bloom each day.
And for the happiness you've known, you will forever-grateful stay
But should I come and call for him much sooner than you'd planned, you'll brave the bitter grief that comes, and maybe understand.
To view the valiant efforts of both an injured Velvet and the first responders who rescued him, click on:
VIP for Team Velvet Inc. February, 2023
In Memoriam - Lead Therapy Horse Velvet
A ten-year-old approached me with something folded in the right hand, saying “I have a present for you, Dr. Susan.”
Inside, folded neatly, were two dollar bills. “This is to help pay for Velvet’s medicine.” It was money from the child’s allowance.
Velvet, our lead therapy horse and the namesake of Team Velvet, Inc., died January 8th of complications from a traumatic injury. His mental health therapy horse career spanned many years and touched many hearts.
Velvet was an 18 hand, 2 black Trakehner who was foaled in Hopewell, NJ and served his entire life as a therapy partner for children with psychologist Dr. Susan Edwards, founder of Team Velvet Inc. Velvet was a gentle giant whose soft spirit allowed children to feel at ease when he bowed upon meeting them. He was able to kick a soccer ball with children and arrived on the media scene first in Ringoes, NJ in March, 2006 when his article “Horse To Face Off Against Soccer Team” appeared in the local Horse News.
Over the next several years he was featured in the Summer 2007 edition of a professional journal called “Equine Facilitated Mental Health” as well as the Spring 2008 issue of American Trakehner Magazine in “Trakehner Horses as Therapy Horses.”
Velvet was chosen as the November, 2009 winner of Equine Wellness Magazine’s “Profile of a Natural Performer” designation and in the 4/2010 German edition of Der Trakehner magazine in an article called “The Trakehner Therapist”. Articles in the local Horse News, Hunterdon Democrat and other publications appear appear on the website home page within tabs In the News and In the News Archives.
Velvet was the ‘voice’ of the team in four national award-winning short videos in the Equus Film Festival Contests over the past four years. The videos appear in the Awards Section of the website www.teamvelvet.com home page and cover topics from child mental health [“Little Horse, Big Medicine”] to humor [“Team Velvet Visits the Happy Horse Hat Shop”]. One video presents ways children can cope with stress during Covid.
Team Velvet Inc. continues searching for benefactor support for its ongoing work of equine mental health therapy for child trauma as the all-volunteer charity provides services at no fee to families. Velvet’s colleagues—Precious and Little Annie—continue to serve children and lend their voices to videos and planned publications and mental health coloring book projects currently being designed as well as mental health seminars for children to be held on site at the therapy farm in Flemington.
Velvet’s life as a foal—Wonder Horse: The Birthday—is available on the website.
In the years of his active career helping children, this special horse helped increase the happiness of a child’s life and facilitate emotional healing over adversity. His positive spirit, kindness and sense of humor live in the organization that bears his name.
Tax-deductible donations in honor of Velvet and to support the ongoing equine mental health work can be made via PayPal at www.teamvelvet.com and via mail at Team Velvet Inc., PO Box 268, Rocky Hill, NJ 08553.
May 1, 2021. We are saddened to hear of the passing of Charlie Harrison. He was a special friend of Team Velvet and was well-loved by the staff, horses, the children we serve, and the greater WDVR community which extended across the internet. We will miss him.
Condolences to his family and friends. He was always helping with kindness, music and love.
In 2017, Charlie was given an award by Team Velvet Inc. to honor for his lifework in music, encouragement, and making the world a better place just by being in it. We were so appreciative Charlie chose to help us with fundraisers to support our horse therapy for traumatized children so we could offer services free to families. He loved our therapy horses and was always trying to find donors for hay and feed for the horses. Charlie, we will remember you always.
Susan Rose Reilly
April 2020. Susan Rose Reilly was one of Team Velvet's kindest friends. Susan and her husband, Rick donated the funds for our Santa Visits Heaven coloring book for children who lost a father. Rick was our Santa at the fall fundraiser and Susan always helped out in the gift basket department.
She was a source of ongoing support and encouragement. Susan had an amazing intuitive sense that although things were difficult for Team Velvet, she was a source of positive emotion and optimism.
She was an angel on earth. Now she is an angel in heaven.
May 1, 2021. We are saddened to hear of the passing of Charlie Harrison. He was a special friend of Team Velvet and was well-loved by the staff, horses, the children we serve, and the greater WDVR 89.7 Sergeantsville, NJ / WPNJ 90.5 Easton, PA community which extended across the internet. We will miss him.