From a world of horses, Colorado agriculture, Audra McNicholas is no stranger to the industry. McNicholas was a former Miss Rodeo Colorado in 2009. With her love for horses and her community, she is paving the way for therapy horses in Colorado by restoring love and mental health back into her community.
After several years of working with horses, McNicholas started McNicholas Miniatures Therapy Horses located in Greenwood Village, Colo. A recognizable name people may associate with McNicholas Miniatures is LoveBug. LoveBug is the very first member to the McNicholas team. She is a gentle, calm and bright miniature horse. She is a two-year-old mare with lots of fun color markings. McNicholas and LoveBug’s mission is to bring affection, bliss and therapeutic benefits to everyone they come in contact with.
McNicholas Miniature Therapy Horses recognize the importance of mental health and are able to provide comfort, connections and happiness to everyone they meet.
“So a lot of people ask me can I touch her? And I say yes, because there’s a big difference between a service animal and a therapy animal. LoveBug’s job as a therapy animal is to be loved and touched and to bring comfort to people. So it’s really exciting that is her job and the difference is a service animal will actually be providing service to just one human. To where therapy animals provide their service to everybody.”– Audra McNicholas
LoveBug visits hospitals, schools, libraries, retirement communities, nursing care facilities, veteran facilities, promotional events and of course the National Western Stock Show!
LoveBug has a great connection with Stock Show, as she is the first official Stock Show ambassador. LoveBug represents agricultural and western heritage while also being an example of giving back to the community.
“We have been looking for something special that embodies our western traditions and represents Stock Show in the community,” said Karen Woods, NWSS Senior Director of Marketing and PR “LoveBug definitely does that.”
“Were really honored and excited to be apart of the National Western Stock Show. We love our community like the National Western does. We like to give back and the rodeo life, the western heritage and agriculture is very important to us”– Audra McNicholas
Some fun facts about LoveBug is that she was born on on May 4th, 2017. LoveBug’s favorite snacks are baby carrots. Her best friend is the McNicholas family dog named Gretchen. LoveBug has visited the Denver Nuggets Western Night and the Avalanche Hockey Game as part of her ambassador duties.
“LoveBug is my first but we actually just got another buddy for her. Happy Times Midnight Velvet joined McNicholas Miniatures and over the next couple years our goal is just our community and giving back and bringing love, affection, and joy to those that we meet. So I really hope that the girls get to work not only separately but as a team together as we travel throughout our community.”– Audra McNicolas
In an effort to build their herd, McNicholas Miniatures has officially added a new member to their therapy team.
Blog post by: Joclyn Bushman, 2020 Marketing & PR Intern
Joclyn Bushman is a recent graduate of Iowa State University with her degree in Agricultural Communications. Joclyn grew up on her family farm raising cattle and poultry in northeast Iowa. Her hopes in the future is to be a full-time agricultural photographer traveling in a Jeep Wrangler with a pug by her side. It has been a dream of Joclyn’s to land an internship with the National Western Stock Show and she’s been loving it since the very start.