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Patients feeling a little horse at Southend Hospital

19 December 2018

Standing just 28 inches (or seven hands) high Applause the miniature horse was back at Southend Hospital to bring some cheer and therapy to elderly patients.

The tiny white American miniature horse, aged 15, might have been small in size but he delivered big to patients, whose faces lit up when they saw he trot onto both Windsor and Princess Anne Wards at the Trust.

Claire Buckell, Clinical Development Nurse, explained the importance of his visit. She said: "Any change to the daily routine for people who are unwell can really make a difference and Applause has had such a fantastic positive impact on everyone he has met. You could say he has been the 'mane' talking point of the day and has helped evoke such positive memories for people and their experience with horses when they were younger."

Elderly patients from both the wards took the opportunity to meet and stroke Applause as he greeted them in day rooms or by their beds on side wards. Thrilled to meet the equine visitor was Doris Willcocks, 91, from Southend. She said:"He's lovely, just lovely. Him being here makes such a nice change."

That was echoed by Sheila Berry, whose mum, Margaret Berry, is a patient on Princess Anne Ward. Sheila said: "I think this is just so nice for patients who often have nothing to do but look at the TV. When Applause arrived, mum woke up and looked so happy and was really taking notice."

Amanda Poulton, Applause's owner from Alamanda Therapy Animals, a non-funded charity staffed by volunteers who also have their own health issues and are based in Basildon, said: "Applause is such an inquisitive mini horse who just loves to meet all sorts of people.  He has been there and seen most things having visited so many people over the last 12 years that he has been doing Animal Assisted Therapy. It's been lovely to help bring so much joy to patients again at Southend Hospital."

NR 83b (2018)