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Pony Express | Family 'FedEx-es' pony from California to Memphis to become therapy horse

A jet-black pony named Ben flew from Oakland, California, to his new home in Memphis where he will be joining the herd of therapy horses at Southern Reins.
Credit: Southern Reins

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — FedEx Flight 440 into Memphis International Airport had some precious cargo aboard when it landed yesterday afternoon. 

A jet-black pony named Ben flew from Oakland, California to his new home in Memphis where he will be joining the herd of therapy horses at Southern Reins Center for Equine Therapy. 

He was greeted on the tarmac by Southern Reins’ staff, volunteers, and his owners Kristen, Amelia, and Natalie Vann who were excited to welcome him to Memphis. 

The Vann family relocated from California to Memphis and loaned Ben to the nonprofit. 

“Oakley Ben” is a 13-year-old Dales pony measuring 14.2 hands tall who is dearly loved by the Vann family, according to Southern Reins, participating in dressage, trail rides, and even the annual neighborhood Fourth of July parade. 

“I originally got the idea to donate our beloved Ben to an equine therapy center after a dear friend brought her five year daughter over to our house for respite from cancer treatment," said Kristie Vann, Ben's owner. "She loved animals, especially horses, and begged to ride Ben. We put her on his back and I led her around for more than an hour. That day I saw Ben in a whole new light. It was like he had found his calling.” 

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“We have been looking for a pony like Ben for a long time, and we can't wait to see all the achievements he will make possible for our participants at Southern Reins," said Jill Haag, Southern Reins' executive director. "It is so wonderful to roll out the red carpet here on the FedEx Express tarmac to give a warm Memphis welcome to the newest member of our team. We are incredibly grateful to the Vann family for reaching out to us and supporting our program in such an incredible way." 

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