EXETER – Seeking to alleviate the nation’s mental health crisis, Saco, Maine resident Gerry Scott, believes he has found a solution.
All people have to do is meet his black Friesian horse, Hercules, and his yellow lab sidekick, Molly.
Scott started the non-profit organization “Horses Over America” and he and his animal companions visited Exeter last weekend.
“People think more and feel less, but horses are just the opposite, and they feel more and think less,” said Scott, a 28-year-old US Army veteran. “They are in a natural state of harmony. So, because people aren’t in the same harmony as a horse, whether they realize it or not, they know they want more.
Scott said Horses Over America’s mission is to partner with the New England Police Department as well as other horse owners in the area. He said the goal of working with the police is to keep him and other horse owners free of traffic jams.
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Then he said Horses Over America was trying to raise $ 1.2 million, or roughly $ 2,000 per New England Police Department, so that they could spend a few weeks a year in a town walking around and boost the morale of residents. He said the money would be used for all charges to the police for possible traffic details.
Scott said he adopted 10 communities across New England where he would regularly bring Hercules and Molly, as well as a few communities he would “visit” with his animals. He said his goal was to connect with horse owners willing to tackle 10 communities each in order to spread goodwill in the community through the connection of passers-by with their animal.
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Scott said he was inspired by the city of Liverpool, England’s experience during the COVID-19 lockdown. There, he said the horse owners teamed up to visit every house in town and the residents got to meet their horses and it cheered them up while being isolated.
“The horse owner was knocking on the door and asking people if they wanted to meet his horse,” Scott said. “99.9% of the time, residents would come running to see and pet the horse.”
Scott said Exeter’s response to her meeting with Hercules was incredible, as dozens of photos were uploaded to the Exeter Community Forum Facebook page by community members who met her. He said that when people see a horse, they instinctively recall their ancestors by relying on carriages or saddles from place to place before automobiles.
“I’m doing something very old, but in 1850 I would say 70% of the men and women in Portsmouth and Exeter were horse riders,” Scott said. “When we walk down the street, you can just feel the energy soar. Nothing happening on the street makes people pull out their cameras like seeing a beautiful black stallion teaming up with a yellow lab and they see three creatures in harmony.
To learn more about Horses Over America and to support Scott’s work, visit HorsesOverAmerica.org.