A pony helped spread festive joy by visiting residents of four care homes.

Gussy, a 10hh 17-year-old Dartmoor mare, spent the day being stroked by elderly residents of Red Homes Healthcare in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire on 6 December.

The pony donned a Father Christmas hat and some tinsel to visit Red Rose Nursing Home in Farndon, Newark, Red Roofs Residential Care Home in Newark, Red Oaks Care Community in Mansfield and Red Court Care Community in Grantham.

Andrea McCartney, activities co-ordinator at Red Court, said the visit was “absolutely fantastic”.

She explained that Red Homes Healthcare has had a pony visit around Christmas for the past three years, but Red Court only joined the group in September so this was a first for this home.

“I was a bit sceptical, but it was absolutely brilliant,” she told H&H.

“She was so well behaved — very relaxed and calm.

“She [walked up to] some quite poorly people in here and rested her head on them.

“One lady’s reaction made me cry, her reaction was just amazing, I have never send her that excited — the expression in her face and eyes, she was glowing.

“We do have dogs in [sometimes], but I think there was a bit more surprise with a pony.

“It was magical to watch.”

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Sam Cobb, of Red Homes Healthcare, added the group has had previously been visited by a Welsh section A named Alfie but this was the first year they had met Gussy.

“The residents, relatives and staff thoroughly enjoy the visits we have each Christmas,” said Sam, adding that Gussy even visited some residents in their rooms.

“Residents groomed Gussy, and reminisced about times working with horses and on farms.”

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