Miniature horse brings smiles to seniors at Woodstock's Valley Hi Nursing Home

March 15, 2018

A quick tie of his black-and-white tennis shoe, a tug of his rein and Hawk went to work.

“We’ve got a visitor for you,” Carol Swinford told residents of Valley Hi Nursing Home in Woodstock as she slowly guided the cream-colored, 10-year-old American Miniature stallion.

Hawk casually strolled the hallways of the nursing home, drawing crowds as he stopped for a pat on the head, a nuzzle from residents. A few rested their faces against his muzzle. All smiled.

“Oh my goodness.”

“Why, hello there.”

“Thanks for coming to see us.”

The visit didn’t last long, but it meant plenty.

“It makes them forget for just a moment what they’re going through,” said Swinford, who first brought one of her miniature horses to the nursing home in 1998 as a sort of therapy. “Their feelings change after they pet the horse. It’s very rewarding.”

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