Newly formed local nonprofit Hollywood Hoofbeats held an event on Monday in an effort to give retired film industry animals a new purpose while also educating the public about them.
The event was held at the Santa Clarita Post Acute Center in Newhall, where about a dozen seniors were able to meet and pet two miniature ponies named Buckshot and Okie McAlester.
Gattlin Griffith, co-founder and event organizer, said the goal of the organizer is to find a permanent place for animals no longer able to star on the silver screen.
“The core mission of our nonprofit is to serve as kind of a forever home for animals used in the entertainment business,” said Griffith. “Oftentimes they kind of work their whole lives but then afterwards have a lot of uncertainty with where they’re going to live for the rest of their life. So we make sure they have a place.”
Griffith said the animals are housed at a family-owned ranch in Agua Dulce, where there are several animals that need a place to stay. The organization just recently started to bring these animals to senior care centers and homeless shelters, which Griffith’s mother, Wendy, said is important to those who need a companion – even if it’s just a pony.
“When my mother, in 2016, was going through a sub-acute care like this, you just want someone to talk to you sometimes, you know? They want someone to listen to them and tell their stories sometimes,” said Wendy.
The nonprofit said having smaller animals, such as ponies and goats, has offered more opportunities to show them in smaller settings.
“We’re trying to do more events like this where we reach out to the community and since we have little animals like this, we can do more kind of close, intimate type stuff where we go to elderly homes and we’re hoping to find other places like that,” said Griffith.
Luciana Torres, an 88-year-old patient at Santa Clarita Post Acute, said this was her first time interacting with horses.
“I love petting them. I’ve never [experienced] anything like that,” said Torres.
In addition to bringing the ponies, Hollywood Hoofbeats also donated 70 blankets to be handed out to the seniors.