THE team at Le Pine Funerals got two Persian draft horses to switch roles this week with the help of 20 kilograms of carrots.
Bringing smiles to the faces of many elderly Kooweerup and Pakenham residents, draft horses Sky and Jet both put on a show at Millhaven Lodge on Wednesday 25 March.
Normally used in the horse-drawn hearse, the two horses have been featured in the television mini-series Gallipoli. This week they brought joy to the elderly at Shanagolden Catholic Homes, Kooweerup Regional Health Service and McGregor Gardens Aged Care.
The horses visited eight aged care homes throughout the week in what Le Pine funeral arranger, Rachel Kollmorgen, calls horse therapy.
“I don’t get to smile very often in my job and we’ve just been high all morning,” Ms Kollmorgen said.
This is the first time the horses have visited nursing homes and with such success the team at Le Pine Funerals said they were hoping to do more of it.
“This time around, we have been able to tie the visit in with the Anzac centenary because the horses were a part of the Gallipoli series,” Ms Kollmorgen said.
The fact that the visit has been supplied free by Le Pine Funerals has been a massive help to the aged care facilities, divisional nurse Sarah Finlay said.
“It usually costs us up to $500 to have a farm come and visit, so it’s really nice the horses cost nothing,” Ms Finlay said.
The Millhaven Lodge is lucky enough to have rabbits coming for a visit in a few weeks, also a free service provided by a local resident.
Regional manager at Le Pine Funerals Ashley Crow said the horse therapy was a way to give back to the community and was a little different.
“Yesterday, we visited the Yarra Valley and one lady who hadn’t been outside for seven years, came out in her bed to see the horses,” Mr Crow said.
“A lot of these residents rode and owned horses of their own years ago, and it’s fantastic to see the joy it brings, bringing back childhood memories,” he said.
Millhaven Lodge resident John Everitt said he’d love the horses to visit again.
“It’s something different and it’s good to see the size of them, they’re friendly, it’s been very enjoyable,” Mr Everitt said.
“If I get married again, I’ll hire the horses and their cart,” he said. The draft horses were supplied and driven from each location by local residents, Dean Crichton and Lou Gilligan and in between their duties with Le Pine Funerals their horse therapy visits have been a big hit.
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