Horsing Around at CLT

April 5, 2024 - For a few sweet hours on April 1, the CLT Canine Crew had an honorary equine member: Kiwi the miniature horse. Many people on social media thought we were horsing around since it was April Fool’s Day, but little Kiwi did in fact trot through the CLT terminal.

Travelers did double-takes as they walked by Kiwi. They stared in disbelief, then inevitably pulled out their phones to snap a photo.

Kiwi stands just 25” tall, about the same height as a golden retriever. But wearing purple shoes and a bedazzled vest, he stood out as the “mane” man at CLT.

Pianist Michael Colson provided the mood music, playing “Horse with No Name,” “Wild Horses” and “Old Town Road” during Kiwi’s visit to the Atrium.

The April Fool’s joke was that Kiwi was becoming a permanent member of the CLT Canine Crew. Unfortunately, Kiwi and his human handlers at Stampede of Love are busy helping children and adults of all abilities through animal-assisted therapy.

CLT Social Media Manager Virginia Lane came up with the idea as a way to continue the Airport’s April Fool’s day tradition while giving travelers an unexpected treat.

Previous pranks include announcing that Airport construction was complete and that CLT was removing the beloved rocking chairs. We can’t imagine either of those things ever happening.

Some reactions to Kiwi overheard in the terminal:

“Ok, now I’ve seen everything.” – Steve, American Airlines

“I’ve never seen a horse so small, but I have rode a horse so big!” - Evelina, 6 years old

“My wife’s going to want one.” – several husbands

“You made my day!” – unknown airline worker

“That’s a really big dog!” – several travelers

“I’ve never seen a horse inside an airport before!” – Edwin, traveler

“His mane was soft.” – Patrick, 4 years old

“I thought he was really cute.” – Allison, 6 years old

“Wait a second, the sign says canine but I am not looking at a canine!” – unknown traveler

Tara Needham founded Stampede of Love with her mother, Mary in 2004. Based in Raleigh, N.C., the non-profit relies on donations to fund trips to schools, hospitals, airports and other places where people need stress-relief and a smile. Watch the video about Kiwi’s visit to CLT.