Monty the miniature pony came trotting through the front door at Resthaven on Burns last Wednesday morning — clip-clopping down the lino as the care centre’s first animal visitor since everyone shuttered their doors last year thanks to Covid.
“He’s our first animal to visit the facility for a year now,” Tracy Fairhall, the activities coordinator at Resthaven, said.
He is also the first tiny equine: “We used to have the assistance dogs coming in … but we’ve never had Monty.”
Monty’s usually found at the Cambridge Riding for the Disabled on Alpha Street; his visit was organised by the Friends of Resthaven group.
Cambridge is a horsey town, and many of Resthaven’s residents have spent their lives in the racing industry. For them, Monty’s visit was extra special — “They were absolutely thrilled to see [him],” Fairhall said.
As he toddled down the hall, through the reception and into the dementia ward, Monty met former steeplechasers, polo trainers and racing families.
“It got them talking about memories from the past to do with their days of being a jockey,” Fairhall said. “We do have a few [residents] that used to be involved quite a lot with horses back in their day… it brought back lots of happy memories.”
Fairhall hopes to make animal visits a regular occasion once again — and, fingers crossed, Monty the chestnut pony will be back soon.