Therapy pony who brings comfort, companionship and care to the elderly and disabled in care homes, schools and day centres.
When miniature pet pony Wilson first trotted into a rehabilitation care home all the residents fell immediately in love with the charismatic Shetland.
The patients – many with brain injuries – immediately bonded with the tiny horse and the care home asked if he could visit again soon.
That was five years ago, and since then his owners Elaine and John Sangster have taken Wilson to visit hundreds of sick and disabled children as well as elderly patients and dementia sufferers across Scotland.
The couple now own 15 miniature therapy ponies but knee-high Wilson is a firm favourite. Elaine, from West Lothian, says: “Wilson is such a character, people always want to hug and kiss him. We’d been keeping miniature Shetlands as pets for around ten years but he is particularly special. We even took Wilson on our honeymoon as he was too young to be left alone.
“Wilson is the reason why we went on that first visit to the care home. It made us realise that we wanted to share the joy and love that we got from the ponies and do this full time. As soon as we made that decision, we were inundated with requests. People don’t see Wilson and his friends as horses in a field but rather a pet.”
The couple now visit care homes, nursing homes, hospices, day-care centres, sheltered housing facilities and out-of-school clubs for disabled children across Scotland.