The tenants at Riverside House in Peebles were visited by some unusual and extra-special guests this week – two miniature Shetland ponies called Wilson and Eduardo from Therapy Ponies Scotland.
The ponies, accompanied by their owners John and Elain Sangster, had travelled to Peebles from West Lothian.
Elaine explained, “Our miniature ponies offer great therapeutic benefits to people of all ages, especially for those with poor mobility, or co-ordination, partially sighted or suffering from depression, anxiety or have learning difficulties. They are intuitive animals who respond to the emotions of people around them. The opportunity to touch, or stroke or just be in their presence can evoke a truly positive response.”
This was certainly the case at Riverside House as many of the tenants have a great love of animals and were delighted to cuddle and stroke the ponies, and their visit prompted lots of memories and discussion.
One tenant, Barbara Graham explained, “Many years ago, I was a judge of long-haired cats when I lived in Zimbabwe but I love all kinds of animals. When I was living in Africa I owned a variety of pets including cats, rabbits, fowl and even a monkey called Pepo which I inherited from a friend!”
Emily Nairn, another tenant, commented, “Today’s visit has been wonderful and most unusual! I have never seen anything like it before – but it has been a really great way to bring everyone together. I really hope that they can come back another time.”
Kathleen Ewart, Co-ordinator at Riverside House who had arranged the event for the tenants said, “Today has been a wonderful experience for us all. Even some of our tenants who were unable to join us in the lounge got an extra special visit from the ponies as they were able to go in the life – so nobody got left out. Special thanks to John and Elaine for bringing Eduardo and Wilson to visit us. Even after the visit, our tenants have been chatting about how much they enjoyed meeting the animals.”