Residents of Dene Holm in Northfleet spent an afternoon horsing around, when some furry four-legged friends trotted along to the Dene Holm Road care home.

With the sun shining, the residents couldn’t wait to get out in the garden and meet the ponies, which had been brought to the care home by Causeways Pony Parties. The residents had an excellent afternoon meeting and petting the ponies and learning about their lives.

There is a great deal of evidence supporting the belief that contact with animals is highly beneficial for older people, particularly those living with dementia. Many claim that older people find the experience therapeutic, calming and uplifting; it has even been known to trigger old forgotten memories.

Christine Hutchinson, home manager of Dene Holm commented: “The residents absolutely loved the visit from the ponies, you could see their faces light up. For some of them it was quite nostalgic, as they remember having donkey rides at the seaside as children.

“We believe in the importance of interaction between our residents and animals, whether they are cats and dogs, or indeed ponies! We have cats here at Dene Holm and have recently gained some chickens, the residents absolutely love having them around and some really enjoy caring for them as if they are their own pet.”