The benefits of pony therapy
Rowcroft Hospice is celebrating the launch of a 36ft x 36ft mobile pen for a VIP – Very Important Pony – named Patrick, a therapy pony who supports patients and families on his visits to the hospice. The world-famous miniature Shetland pony has already made several successful trips to Rowcroft’s Inpatient Unit, offering therapy to patients with life-limiting illnesses and their families. Pony therapy is said to reduce blood pressure and to help release endorphins that provide calming effects; this can help alleviate pain, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve wellbeing.
The magic of Patrick
“Originally, I asked Patrick to visit an inpatient who had a great love of horses,” said Claire Hellier, a Clinical Nurse Specialist at the hospice. “The success of Patrick’s bedside visit led to more visits to other patients in the Inpatient Unit, with really positive feedback from both the patients and their families. There was a feeling that Patrick added real value to their stay and that he brought an aura of calmness and a sense of magic.”
Mobile pony pen
“We’re delighted to see the launch of this mobile pen today,” said Claire. “It will give Patrick a moveable base at the hospice to enable people to interact and spend time with him outside in the fresh air, within the beautiful gardens here at the hospice. And it will enable Patrick to visit the Inpatient Unit during his sessions on the grounds.”
Pony therapy for patients
“It’s really wonderful that patients and their loved ones can have the opportunity to receive the therapeutic benefits of a specially trained, local pony. It’s a chance to receive some respite from this stressful period of their lives, to connect with the non-medical world again and to forget about their illness for a short while. It also provides an opportunity for reflection on the importance of animals in our lives.”
A community pony
Patrick, also known as the Mayor of Cockington, is a 7hh (seven hands high) pony who works as a therapy pony with his owners and handlers, Kirk and Hannah Petrakis from Community Pony CIC. Patrick has received national and international fame as a ‘celebrity pony’ and has frequent media attention visiting local care homes, hospitals and mental health units.
“We’re over the moon to have launched this new interactive pen which will do so much to benefit the local community,” said Kirk. “We’re so grateful to all local businesses who have funded the pen, including Accounting 4 Everything, Torbay & District Funeral Services, John Lakes Estate Agents, Airport Transfers Torbay, Roscoe Financials and Watt Plastics Ltd.”
To find out more about Patrick the Pony, you can follow him on Facebook in The Adventures of Patrick the Pony Group.