Horse play topped the agenda Wednesday for residents of Bastion Place.
Thanks to new Interior Health volunteer Sheila Wardman, who brought her two Andalusian horses, Greta and Alegria, to visit, residents were able to spend time patting and admiring the gentle giants.
Although the two equine drop-ins seemed a little more interested in sampling the grass on the lawn and eating carrots than hanging out with the residents, they were polite and allowed nose patting and neck scratching.
Resident Laura Arsenault – previously Fruno – who is now 92, remembers clearly having 16 Arabian horses when she was younger.
“We used to enter them in the Cloverdale fair,” she says.
Although she described the Andalusians as “very nice,” she admits Arabians are still her favourite. Nonetheless, she enjoyed the visit and pointed out that some people at Bastion have never seen horses before.
Arsenault explained she’s lived on a farm all her life. She adds proudly that she has 21 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
Resident Judy Heare also said she enjoyed seeing the horses. She’s no stranger to the animals, having ridden every day on a farm when she was younger.
She remembers the days when she and her father used to hunt for moose on horseback.
Resident Audrey Natulic is all smiles when she talks about the horses.
“I think they’re beautiful.”
She recalls her first experience riding a horse.
“I was so happy to be on it but I guess the horse wasn’t happy to have me on it.”
He bucked and she fell off. However, she went back to him and then he was nice to her, she says.
“I wish I could have a horse at home to go with my cats and dogs.
“I’m really happy,” she adds. “It’s so exciting.”
Robin Greencorn, recreation coordinator at Bastion Place, said they’ve never had a horse visit before but it was very therapeutic.
“The calming energy they brought to some of our anxious residents was remarkable to witness.”
Greencorn also expressed appreciation for Jackie LaTosky, coordinator of volunteer services at Bastion, who arranged the visit from the horses.
LaTosky, in turn, thanked Sheila Wardman.
“This is the first time we’ve had Sheila, our newest Interior Health volunteer, and horses Greta and Alegria, and we hope they come visit again.”
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