For the residents at Kiwanis Care Centre who were raised on a farm with horses, a visit from wee Timbits brought back many happy memories.
Timbits, a miniature therapy horse gelding that stands 32-inches tall, whinnied his way into the hearts of the residents at the North Shore residential care facility last Friday. Plans are afoot - or is that ahoof? - for a return visit later in the year.
"He was a hit at KCC," says KCC manager Anne Moonan-Woods. "Timbits was in fine form as he walked and trotted around the garden and nuzzled in with a few of our residents."
Timbits with trainer Lora Hargreaves and Kristina Wilson at the Kiwanis Care Centre.
Timbits was accompanied by his trainer Lora Hargreaves of the North Shore Equestrian Centre, which runs a Mini Horse Therapy Program.
"The residents loved him," said Lora. "After spending a few minutes telling them about him, we took him up to each resident who wanted to pat him. There were many many smiles and lots of questions about his age, if he was a boy or girl (boy), if you can ride him (no), and if he would get any bigger (no). After circulating, we showed a few of the residents him trotting and gave him an apple. Some residents talked about how they had had horses when they were young. It is equally enjoyable for us to see the joy and reactions from the residents."
Chance encounter inspired program
Lora started the therapy program after an encounter with an elderly man a number of months who stopped to pet a pony she was walking.
"It was clear that this encounter had a positive impact on his day and I thought it would be great to provide that experience to a wider range of people," explains Lora. "Owners Denise and Peter Kinvig of the North Shore Equestrian Centre agreed to sponsor this project, which is a complementary service offered to the community. "
To date, Timbits has visited two elementary schools, a preschool, participated in the North Shore Canada Day Parade and visited five residential care sites.