Little ponies pay surprise bedside visit to Bedford care home

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Tinkerbella and Trinity were a big hit

Happy memories were made for residents at a Bedford care home when two delightful miniature ponies trotted into their bedrooms.

The ponies Tinkerbella and Trinity from Keysoe Therapy and Wellbeing Centre visited Elstow Manor Care Home, Bedford Road, as part of their pet therapy programme.

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Resident Graham Edington, aged 95, said: “I was in my room when there was a knock on my door saying the ponies were outside and wanted to come in. It was great to have them visit me, and when I called my family in the evening, they nearly didn’t believe me that ponies had been into my room. I was so ecstatic to have them visit.”

Cute ponies at Elstow Manor Care HomeCute ponies at Elstow Manor Care Home
Cute ponies at Elstow Manor Care Home

Fellow resident Mary Harris, aged 88, said: “It was quite a thrill, and they were so gentle and friendly.”

Residents Julia Lane, aged 86, and husband Crawford, aged 87, said it was ‘fantastic’ to meet the adorable duo.

Crawford added: “It was so lovely to have them up close and reminded me of a time when Julia and I used to work on a farm with all the different animals.”

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Resident Mary Smeaton, aged 91, said: “There are always plenty of nice surprises here at Elstow Manor, but this must be one the best. It was such a treat to stroke and talk to Tinkerbella and Trinity.”

Cute ponies at Elstow ManorCute ponies at Elstow Manor
Cute ponies at Elstow Manor

Elstow Manor Wellbeing & Lifestyle Coach Oliver Waddington said: “The ponies were so calming, and it was lovely to meet them. It was wonderful to see the expressions of surprise and joy on the residents’ faces.

“The ponies got everyone talking and laughing. There is something very special about animals, and Tinks and Trinity certainly brightened up everyone’s day.”

There are thought to be many therapeutic benefits of time spent with animals, and Keysoe Therapy and Wellbeing Centre, through Keysoe Cuddle Therapy Ponies, works with schools and care homes, giving people a close-up opportunity to enjoy the animals.

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They believe that the gentle and calm nature of horses allows them to be ideal partners to help children and adults better deal with mental, emotional and even physical health issues.

Meeting the ponies at Elstow ManorMeeting the ponies at Elstow Manor
Meeting the ponies at Elstow Manor

Research has shown that there are many physical, psychological and emotional conditions that can benefit from animal-assisted therapy, including ADHD, autism, PTSD, depression, dementia and chronic pain.

And because horses are highly receptive and responsive to a person’s body language, emotion and energy, it encourages a therapeutic bond.

Oliver added: “Interacting with animals is proven to help build self-esteem and reduce the risk of depression and anxiety. Animals also can encourage communication, and we certainly saw that at Elstow Manor. We hope the ponies come back to visit us again."