Residents of Jemalong Residential Village (JRV) have been looking forward to their monthly visits from two very special guests.
For the past 18 months, Blondy and Jazzie, two beautiful miniature horses have been visiting the residents.
The residents always await the visiting horses with eager anticipation and have grown so fond of these two charming animals that they frequently have their visits from grandchildren and great grandchildren coincide with that of the horses.
All residents are offered a visit from Blondy and Jazzie, including those residents who are in their rooms or in bed.
When visiting residents in their rooms, one horse is led in and the other one patiently waits outside the room for her turn, usually with an entourage of residents and staff. Blondy and Jazzie are always showered with lots of smiles, pats, hugs and kisses.
Owner of these two beauts, Year 12 student Kelsey Muller has done an amazing job training the quiet and well-mannered horses. She has even managed that they walk in reverse in confined spaces to exit the resident’s rooms.
“I became interested in this activity when I saw on the news one day someone taking a horse into a retirement village. The story spoke of the benefits to people interacting with animals and I thought why not?” explained Kelsey.
“My miniatures were quiet enough to be able to do something like this. I just had to make sure that the horses were desensitized to every situation possible. So for many months, I would walk the two minis along streets, over different surfaces and obstacles and into enclosed spaces. When they got to the point where they weren’t reacting to their environment, then I thought they were ready,” said Kelsey.
Kelsey remarks that Jazzie immediately took to the visits really well but that Blondie was a bit nervous to start off with. However, throughout the visits they have both improved.
The visiting horses often evoke reminiscence from the residents. Many recalling having ridden horses to school or ploughing paddocks with horse teams on family farms.
By Gizell van Wyk