Poppy the pony is a good neigh-bour for Alnwick care home

Resident Ivor Wilkin met Poppy.
Resident Ivor Wilkin met Poppy.

The residents at an Alnwick-based extra-care scheme were horsing around this week, when an American miniature pony named Poppy came in to see them.

Activities coordinator Liz Pratt had arranged for the visit from three-year-old Poppy, who is owned and cared for by KL Pony Therapy, in Darlington.

Poppy with resident Violet Goodfellow and activities coordinator Liz Pratt.

Poppy with resident Violet Goodfellow and activities coordinator Liz Pratt.

Poppy visited every floor of Weavers’ Court – even travelling in the lift.

The facility, which is located along Weavers’ Way, is home to more than 60 older residents. Some have physical disabilities and some have dementia, so a visit from Poppy proved really calming and therapeutic.

Liz said: “You could see the pleasure on people’s faces.

“The visit of a pony, or other animals, can spark memories and reminiscence, which can be a great way to build friendships.

“The relaxing nature of petting an animal can also be good for people’s physical health, helping to lower their blood pressure, for example.

“We like to ensure a varied and stimulating programme for our residents and when we saw the chance to bring a pony into the building, we couldn’t say no.

“Poppy proved a big hit with all our residents. She has such a placid personality and was never stressed by all the attention she received.

“We already had regular visits from a friendship dog and now Poppy has also proven very popular.”

Earlier this year, the residents unveiled two short animated films – Wallace and Gromit style.

Using clay models to tell the story, one of the features was about the residents and their new home, while the second was about the town of Alnwick itself.