Shetland ponies bring joy to residents at Dundee care home

Nancy Hunter with Flicker during the visit by the Shetland ponies

Residents of a Dundee care home have had some very unusual visitors — two miniature Shetland ponies.

The specially trained therapy-ponies paid a visit to the residents of Bughties Nursing Home in Broughty Ferry.

Flicker and Applejack have been trained to feel comfortable going into nursing homes around the country.

Their visits aim to bring comfort and excitement to the residents.

Residents at the nursing home in Broughty Ferry.

Elaine Sangster, who runs Therapy Ponies Scotland alongside her husband John, said: “We have eight horses which take turns in coming to homes around Scotland. The horses love being around people and are very calm.

“They have a normal life outside of their work and run and play with each other in the fields.

“It is fantastic coming into homes and seeing the great reactions — if you look around everyone is so happy.

“I always say my ponies are teddy bear soft and cuddle trained.

“The difference it makes to residents is just fantastic. People who don’t normally talk have a full conversation with us and the ponies — it is amazing.”

Margaret Benns, 84, a resident at Bughties, said she thoroughly enjoyed the visit.

She said: “When I was told the ponies were coming in, I was so excited.

“I really enjoyed getting a cuddle from the ponies.

“One of them even gave me a kiss on the cheek. They are just absolutely beautiful. I didn’t expect them to be so small.”

Dorothy Hunter was at the home visiting her mother-in-law Nancy. Dorothy told the Tele: “It is absolutely wonderful that they have brought the ponies here.

“The stimulation it gives the residents is just incredible.

“My mother-in-law Nancy sometimes just sits and does not say a word — now that she has seen the ponies she is chatting away to everyone. She just seems so happy.

“Seeing everyone in the home so happy is just amazing.”

Nancy said: “I liked cuddling the ponies. It was nice and they are very quiet. I want them to bring them down everyday.”

George McComiskie, Bughties Homes activities coordinator, said: “We thought it would be a great idea for all the residents.

“It is very important to us to do some bigger activities at least once a month.”