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Meeting a miniature horse was a surprise “little” treat

Pamela Hansum works with her miniature horse, Duke, to offer therapy and support to children.

Article and photo by Barbara Neff

I did a double take. Did I really just see a miniature horse standing at the Daniels Park trail head on the west end of Castle Pines Parkway? I whipped through the roundabout and went back to check.

Pulling into the parking area, I spied a miniature horse trailer hitched behind a minivan. On the other side of the minivan stood a woman holding the ropes of a beautiful, tethered small horse. I stopped and introduced myself. The friendly woman introduced herself as Pamela Hansum, and invited me to take pictures and ask questions.

The little horse is named Duke. He is a local resident. Pamela lives in Denver, and Duke is boarded in Surrey Ridge. Duke is 12 years old. Pamela became his owner in 2008 when economic conditions forced his original family to surrender him. Duke is a Class B miniature horse, and he weighs 300 pounds.

Thanks to Pamela, Duke has been a therapy animal for seven years. Together, Pamela and Duke work as a team through Pet Partners (PP), the largest and most prestigious nonprofit that registers therapy animals of all kinds, according to their website ( PP is based in Bellevue, Washington. Duke and Pamela specialize in assisting struggling children.

Duke has his own website. He has a business card, too, which Pamela handed me when I asked for hers. Duke’s business card states his greatest accomplishment as, “Teaching kids of all ages to be strong and use a commanding voice.” Though Pamela does not have a card of her own, I suspect that she shares that accomplishment with Duke.

You can learn more about Duke and Pamela by visiting



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