By Barbara Sutherland
What’s not to love about miniature horses? They have the elegance and beauty of their full-sized cousins and standing at just under 3-feet tall (at the shoulders) they exude cuteness. Three minis recently visited Golden Sands, and they won the hearts of residents and employee care partners alike.
Family - and Equine - Volunteers
On March 20, Belle, Boomer, and Ellie May clip-clopped their way into Golden Sands, accompanied by Stacey Skyrpan of 4-Stars Ranch and her two daughters, Tirzah and Aliyah. The family, which has been connected to the Lac La Biche region for generations, visits PWL once a month.
“They have other animals, like chickens, but they usually bring their miniature horses,” says recreation coordinator Theresa Cardinal. “They are a crowd favourite with residents from every part of our community – independent living, supportive living, and memory care.”
Bits of Apple Win Some Mini Love
“Residents were delighted to see the horses again in March, so they could offer them a little bit of love and attention,” says Theresa. “The miniatures were also happy to circulate, as our residents offered them bits of cut-up apples.”
Shoeing, Saddles, and Shedding
“Residents were curious about the horses and asked questions about shoeing them, saddles and shedding. Stacey and her girls were a wealth of information and the residents happily engaged in conversation with them.” They learned that the miniature horses are starting to lose their thick winter coats, and are unshod and only saddled for show, not for riding. The girls do harness them up to carts and ride that way, and they do very well at competitions.
See the Smiles
“It is always a huge success when they come to visit,” says Theresa. “You can see in the smiles and laughter of the residents and the care partners. We are very fortunate to have their regular monthly visits.”
Photo: Miniature horses Belle and Boomer charming residents.