Miniature horse brings huge joy to dementia wards
19 December 2017
Dogs and even cats have been known to deliver smiles and therapy to patients at Southend Hospital but, for the very first time, the hospital has welcomed a miniature horse.
Standing just 28 inches (or seven hands high) Applause, a tiny
white American miniature horse aged14,trotted to Windsor and
Princess Anne wards at the Trust.
Claire Buckell, Clinical Development Nurse, said: "Even on your
worst day your pets can make you smile. Staff on Windsor ward were
so excited to meet Applause and introduce him to our patients. In
the past doggy therapy has proved very positive so when the
opportunity came up to have a miniature horse we jumped at it. Any
change to the daily routine for people who are unwell can really
make a difference and Applause had such a fantastic positive
Elderly patients from both wards took the opportunity to meet
and stroke Applause as he greeted them in day rooms and by their
beds on side wards. Thrilled to meet the equine visitor it evoked
memories of miniature horses at the fair for one, whilst another
was overcome with emotion at how lovely this unique experience had
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 11 years that he has been doing Animal
"He can be very mischievous at home but put him next to a two
year old child with a brain tumour or at a fundraiser with fire
engine sirens going off, and he knows his job. Patient but nosy, he
never fails to make people smile. He has been trained to walk next
to wheelchairs so that even the most disabled person can interact
with him and he even goes up stairs or in a lift."
No stranger to the limelight Applause has also appeared in Prima
magazine and alongside that other white haired star, Phillip
Schofield on This Morning.