Central Bedfordshire Council news and press releases

Care home residents enjoy a visit from a ​couple of​ therapy ponies this Christmas

Friday, 16 December 2022

Yesterday (Thursday 15 December) Santa and 2 of his four-hoofed little helpers, Pickles and Charlie, visited a care home in Flitwick.

They spread some festive cheer among residents and helped kick off their Christmas party.

Residents at our Ferndale Care Home were surprised with a visit from two special Shetland ponies, who were impeccably behaved and enjoyed giving lots of cuddles and presents to everyone at the care home.

Councillor Carole Hegley, our Executive Member for Adult Social Care, said:

We know that Christmas can be a lonely time for some people, but we certainly hope that meeting Pickles and Charlie has put a smile on everyone’s faces. Studies have shown that human interaction with animals provides many benefits including releasing endorphins, lowering blood pressure, and helping with memory.

Charlie and Pickles are special therapy ponies, and they provide an excellent way for our care home residents to enjoy the presence of animals while improving their emotional and physical health.

Maureen with Pickles the pony

Maureen, aged 87 and one of the residents who met Pickles, said:

Meeting Pickles really brightened up my day, she was so lovely and gorgeous. I just wanted to keep her and cuddle her all day.

Following the visit from Father Christmas and his two ponies, everyone enjoyed afternoon tea and watched the pantomime version of Jack and the Beanstalk along with the choice of Baileys hot chocolate or mulled wine.

Finally, to finish the celebrations, everyone took part in singing some Christmas carols which were led by a local choir.

With such a successful day meeting the ponies, we'll be making more use of therapy ponies at different care homes in the future.