Hi! Lofty here! I can’t quite believe another month has already passed since my last blog in which I told you all about my very first visit. I promised to tell you what happened next…so here we go…
After visiting ‘The Knoll Nursing Home’ I was invited to attend their summer fete where I got to meet a very well dressed gentleman who must be very sad and obviously cries a lot…as they told me his name was ‘Town Crier’ – I didn’t actually see him crying at all whilst I was there mind you, he seemed very jolly in fact. He certainly spoke very loudly and seemed quite excited…because he kept ringing a big bell every time he said something – perhaps that helps to make him feel happy?! Sometimes humans are very difficult for us equines to understand you know! Anyway, I’m glad he didn’t cry at the fete!
News spread about the ‘mini therapy horse’ and I got invited along to another Nursing Home called ‘Sherborne House’ where I encountered two unusual things…firstly a small colourfull bird that I was told was called a ‘Budgie’. I hadn’t seen anything quite like it before…and I had to be very brave, because it kept flying very fast around it’s cage in the corner of the lounge where I was meeting the residents. It was probably just as surprised to see a horse in the house as I was to see a bird in there! But I soon got used to it and was actually quite fascinated by it…and ‘Groom’ had to gently remind me that I was there to visit the residents…not to watch the pretty bird in the corner!
The other thing that happened that was very strange…was when I went into the Conservatory, to meet the residents who were sat enjoying the sunshine…my hooves kept sliding slowly from under me in all four directions! ‘Gofer’ said I looked like ‘Bambi on ice’ – I didn’t know what he meant, but the floor was very shiny and my hooves kept sliding – it was a very strange sensation! I managed to stay upright by not panicking, and by carefully bringing each leg back underneath me as another one slowly slid sideways in turn.
‘Groom’ told me after the visit that she was very proud of how well I’d coped with both things…but it made her wonder what could be done to help me on slippery surfaces.
Around the same time as this visit I was also invited to a local St Margaret’s Hospice, as well as the Dementia Garden at the local Hospital. I loved visiting people to brighten up their day, and I was now going on a visit about once a month.
By this time ‘Groom’ had come up with a way to help prevent me slipping on those shiny floors too…a thing called vet wrap – a flexible elastic self-adherent bandaging tape that comes in lots of different colours. It gave me extra grip…and made my hooves nice and colourful at the same time…but quite often my hooves would cut through the thin bandage before the end of a visit – so it was helpful…but not ideal.
It was after a visit to another St Margaret’s Hospice, in Taunton, that ‘Groom’ received a wonderful message from Ryan – the Director of the amazing Teddy Mountain UK Ltd – the leading provider in the `stuff your own teddy bear’ industry…where children can choose an unstuffed teddy bear (or other toy animal) and fill it themselves by hand, or get it filled by using one of Teddy Mountain’s child-safe machines. Then they can choose an outfit, including shoes, for their toy.
Ryan very kindly offered to help us! He’d heard about the visits I was doing, and St Margaret’s Hospice in Taunton holds a particularly special place in his heart…because of the wonderful care they gave to a relative of his 💖 so he very kindly agreed to send me my very own little Teddy Mountain trainers! In fact he got several sets sent out to me so that I could wear red and white ones, blue and white ones or black and white ones on visits…it solved the problem perfectly! As well as making me look pretty awesome as well!
‘Groom’ says that my little trainers bring as many smiles and comments from people I meet as I do! They are a great talking point, they prevent me sliding on shiny floors, protect carpets, and are more hygienic than just my hooves for visiting hospitals and hospices – they’re brilliant!
So…Teddy Mountain helped make me the ‘coolest little horse in town’ and now I wasn’t just known as ‘Lofty the Therapy Horse’…I was becoming known as ‘the little horse who wears trainers’!
‘Groom’ and ‘Gofer’ are always getting asked about the trainers whilst we’re on visits, and people absolutely love it when they’re told that they’re actually teddy bear shoes!
Teddy Mountain UK have been a wonderful support to me right from the start…’Groom’ and ‘Gofer’ say that the sponsorship from them really helps us to help others ❤
I regularly get sent lovely new trainers to help keep me looking smart…and when new mini equine members ‘joined the therapy team’ they received trainers from Teddy Mountain too…they even sent pink ones for the ‘girls’!
But new mini therapy horses arriving is a whole different story for another time!
See you next month!
Key: ‘Groom’ – April ‘Gofer’ – Steve Otherwise known as ‘the management’!