Therapy ponies bring joy to charity
A north east charity welcomed two miniature Shetland ponies last week.
North East Sensory Services (NESS) brought together their young people's and elderly user groups to share the benefits of interacting with the therapy ponies.
Louise Burgess from Joyful Ponies said: "The ponies seem to have a calming effect which is therapeutic for both children and adults. Everyone seems happy to get involved with them and the ponies are happy to be close to people."
Parents in the group found the visit by the gentle equines to be very therapeutic for the children.
The children and young people enjoyed stroking the ponies and braiding their manes.
One of the older participants, Esther Woods, said: "They were so well behaved. One fell asleep on my lap when I was stroking it. This is the best day we've had, I hope they come back again."
Those with a visual impairment found the ponies to be really interactive, and because they were quite big they were easier to see than other smaller therapy pets.
While the young service users and their families are usually dealing with sensory impairment from birth, the older group are generally learning to cope with age-related sight and/or hearing loss.
Both groups experience challenges which, without support, may result in low mood, loss of confidence and social isolation.
Sharing this Joyful Ponies visit enabled these diverse age groups to communicate, compare experiences and learn from each other, while benefiting from the mood-enhancing and confidence-building session.
Sadly, the ponies couldn't stay for tea but the young and elderly group members had a great time talking about their experience over refreshments after the visit.
For more information about NESS visit www.nesensoryservices.org.