MAKING FRIENDS: Freedom Aged Care resident Irene Haworth meets Cowboy Up's Malcolm.
MAKING FRIENDS: Freedom Aged Care resident Irene Haworth meets Cowboy Up's Malcolm.

Memories ride high as residents connect with horses

TWO horses, called Malcolm and Belle, have helped dementia patients and other residents at Freedom Aged Care reconnect with the world and their past.

Diversional therapist Deanne Berry organised the visit by horses from Cowboy Up Trail Riding and said residents were delighted to be able to pat and feed the animals.

"They all said it was so nice to see the horses and started talking about how they used to ride to school on horses and reminiscing about life on the farm - it was wonderful," Deanne said.

The visit was a form of equine therapy which is based on the natural connection between animal and human and the shared experiences people enjoy with animals.

"Even the way the horse was with residents, it was like he knew exactly what he was doing," Deanne marvelled.

But then, Malcolm at 19 is a bit of an old hand when it comes to handling different situations, having been one of the stars of the movie Australia - alongside Hugh Jackman.

Deanne said seeing the delight in the faces of non-verbal residents, the calming effect for others, and those that just woke up to find they could touch a horse was priceless.

The visit was part of a full Giddy-up themed day at Freedom, with staff and some residents getting into the spirit and dressing as cowboys.


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