Equine visitors bring joy to elderly horse lovers

  • A pony made a special visit to a London care home to visit a life-long horse lover who is no longer able to visit her nearby stables.

    Audrey Hall was taken back 75 years with a surprise visit from Caesar to Homemead Care Home in Park Road, Teddington, last month.

    The 80-year-old grew up with horses and was a frequent visitor to nearby Park Lane stables.

    Due to advancing arthritis in her knee, she is no longer able to make the journey, so staff at Homemead decided to bring her passion a little closer to home.

    “We take time to understand what people love, how they like to spend their time, and once a month residents have the opportunity to have a day that’s special to them,” said care home manafer Theresa Rivera.

    “We know how much horses mean to Audrey, and how frustrated she was at not being able to visit them anymore, so we came up with a solution.”

    Audrey spent half an hour stroking Caesar and feeding him carrots before he headed off home through the front door.

    “Audrey’s room is covered in horse memorabilia,” added Theresa. “Seeing Caesar opened up something within her, it brought out memories and feelings we don’t usually see from her which is wonderful.”

    A statement from the care home said that “active reminiscence” is known to have a positive effect on people in residential care.

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    Audrey said she will not forget the visit.

    “It was such a lovely surprise to see Caesar, I nearly cried!” she said. “He reminds me of all the horses I used to ride when I was a young girl.”

    Daisy Cinque, from Park Lane stables, accompanied therapy pony Caesar on his visit.

    “It was wonderful to see how much joy Audrey got from Caesar being there,” she added. “The smell and the feel of the horse obviously took her back to being a young girl, and what were clearly very happy memories.”

    Meanwhile in Exmouth, miniature donkey William has been bringing joy to residents in Fenihurst Nursing Home.

    The 13-year-old equine, who is from The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth, met residents for a spot of animal therapy.

    Our residents adore it when our friends from The Donkey Sanctuary come to visit. The donkeys are always very gentle and our residents find it very therapeutic when stroking them,” said activities leader Hazel Tribble, of Sanctuary Care Homes which runs Fenihurst.

    “Animal visits also bring back wonderful memories for our residents as we have many animal lovers within the home.

    Our residents’ faces light up when they see the donkeys and like all the activities we plan in our home, these visits are incredibly beneficial for their wellbeing.”

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