February 21, 2017
Horsing around! Mini-pony visits local seniors
A miniature therapy horse trotted into the Boro Park Center on Feb. 20 to brighten up seniors’ day with some love from the fluffy foal.
Duncan the mini-horse nuzzled oldsters and cantered around the community center, and seniors were really champing at the bit to spend some time with him, said the pony’s owner.
“A lot of nursing homes we frequent, they’re waiting for us at the door when we visit, and I think that’s the most telling thing,” said Shawn Emmons. “It gets them to talk, especially residents who might be a little blue. It reminds them of things they had when they were younger, maybe they even had a horse, and people start smiling and sharing stories.”
Duncan was certified to be a therapy horse two years ago and has since traveled to nursing homes and schools across the Tri-State Area. He stands a towering 2 feet tall and weighs in at 140 pounds. But he’s got a huge heart despite his pint-sized physique, said Emmons.
“He’s a lot of fluff,” he said. “Just a great, friendly horse.”
Duncan visited more than 200 seniors, letting them stroke and brush his mane, and sported a stylish pair of sneakers to protect his sensitive hooves. Duncan even made rounds to the elderly who couldn’t make it out of bed, propping his head on the mattress. It’s a soothing experience and Emmons said he isn’t sure who gets more joy out of it, Duncan or the locals.
“I truly believe that Duncan really enjoys visiting nursing homes and he really bonds with the residents,” said Emmons. “You know, getting to pet him, getting to brush him is calming for a lot of the residents.