Members of the Margaret River Horse and Pony Club received a special visit from a group of residents at Baptistcare Mirrambeena last week, introducing many of them to the therapeutic effects of animal engagement.
Horse and Pony Club spokesperson Penny Lee said it was universally understood that safe interaction between people and animals can be beneficial to wellbeing and explained how the day of equestrian fun was established.
"Be it inner city children meeting animals on country farms, prison inmates caring for poddie lambs, dogs and ponies visiting children in hospitals or those living in aged care facilities, all of these have been proven to be helpful for emotional wellbeing, empathy and good health," she said.
"Also a lot of people will have seen the recent ABC series Old Peoples Home for 4 Year Olds and thought what a terrific idea that was and clearly very beneficial to both age groups."
Regan Weightman, chief coach of the Margaret River Horse & Pony Club recently decided to pick up on these great initiatives and see what the club could do to create interaction between the different generations in their own community.
An invitation was sent to Baptistcare Mirrambeena inviting some of the residents to visit for afternoon tea last Sunday.
Five residents were able to attend to watch one of the Club's monthly rallies.
"The children each introduced themselves and their ponies to the visitors.
"Next it was time to pat the ponies.
"It's impossible to say who enjoyed feeding carrots to the ponies the most - the visitors or the ponies. Lets just say there were broad smiles all round and no carrots left over!"
Young members of the club then mounted up and entertained everyone by practising bareback riding and games through bending poles.
The visitors, most of whom had been riders in their younger days, were full of praise at the skill of the riders and the quality of the ponies who were all well behaved.
"It was a great opportunity to reminisce about past riding exploits and share some horsey stories with club members," said Ms Lee.
"It seemed there was an extra spring in the step when the visitors reluctantly had to board the bus to leave.
"Lets hope it's not long before another visit can be arranged."
To find out more about the Margaret River Horse & Pony Club, visit www.margaretriverponyclub.com.au
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