Springdale turns into the ‘home on the range’ for an afternoon

Miniature horse makes a visit to the home’s courtyard where she was greeted by curious residents

SPRINGVILLE, Ont. – Red, a miniature horse, made an appearance at Springdale Country Manor on June 14 to spend time with residents and wander through the courtyard of the Peterborough-area long-term care home.

When Red and her owner, Patricia Sheppard, made their entry into the courtyard, about 20 residents who were sitting in the shade greeted them with big smiles and lots of curiosity.

The first thing Red did was head straight to the lush, manicured grass in the courtyard for a quick afternoon snack, which brought an immediate round of laughter from residents.

Red, who is 22 years old, went from resident to resident to spend a few moments getting pets and cuddles. Patricia answered any questions residents had about Red, and some residents even shared stories of their own experiences with horses.

Several residents asked to have their photo taken with Red, who happily obliged.

Patricia, who owns a horse farm in Omemee called Small Hooves, Big Hearts, says she brings Red and the other horses she owns to many long-term care homes in the area.

No matter which home they’re at, there is always a similar reaction, Patricia says, noting she has been to Springdale Country Manor two other times with her horses.

“It really opens up a lot of dialogue; I’ve heard some really interesting things,” she tells The OMNIway.

Since many of the homes Patricia and her horses visit are in rural areas, most residents will have had some experience with horses, so these visits bring positive reminiscing for residents, Patricia says.

“In a lot of the homes (the horses) start the farmers talking,” she says.

“But pretty much everyone has some kind of connection to a horse, no matter where they’re from in the world, so bringing a horse (to homes) really starts those conversations.”

You can learn more about Small Hooves, Big Hearts by visiting the farm’s website.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Resident Lillian Smith shares a moment with miniature horse Red in the Springdale Country Manor courtyard.