A 92-year-old care home resident has had her wish to ride a horse for the first time fulfilled.
Staff at Prince Edward Duke of Kent Court in Stistead, Essex, arranged for Dot Bayley to visit nearby Rayne Riding Centre where her wish was granted with a ride on pony TJ.
The home’s activities co-ordinator Dani Lane said Dot first told staff about her desire to ride after the residents had been visited by some therapy ponies.
“We had ponies come into the home and the residents were able to meet them and stroke them,” Dani explained. “Later, when we were going round asking residents if there were any activities they would like to try, Dot surprised us all by saying she wanted to ride. I asked my manager if it was possible and she said it was something we could do.”
Dot’s family was a bit worried about the petite 92-year-old, who uses a wheelchair to move over larger distances, getting on a horse, but she was determined.
“She told them she would never speak to them again if they didn’t let her ride!” Dani laughed.
At the riding school, Dot was helped onto TJ and was able to enjoy a short ride, with her two daughters, granddaughter and two great-grandchildren watching.
“She had such a nice time, she was loving it,” Dani said. “When she got back to the home she was joking and telling all the other residents that she had galloped around the paddock.”
Dani added that Dot was already asking if she could visit the riding school again.
Rider came second in her first show after 50 years out of the saddle
Check out what Zara Tindall, Emily King, Ben Hobday and Paul Tapner wore at the first horse inspection
If you want to keep up with the latest from the equestrian world without leaving home, grab a H&H subscription
“Trying to fulfuill residents’ wishes by taking them out for activities is something we have introduced quite recently,” Dani said. “We have regular events, such as a curry club once a month, and we take residents swimming but they usually ask to go out for afternoon tea — Dot is the first one who has ever asked to ride a horse.”
For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.