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Anybody visit nursing homes with their Minis?

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Marsha Cassada

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Yes, all the local nursing homes are closed to visitors. My mom is annoyed. She doesn't want to go anywhere, but it makes her made that someone tells her she can't!
I probably won't do any visiting until after clipping. My horses are terrible looking right now. NOT good advertisements for miniature horses.
 

nickicollins2

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Hello! I have a question--> I have 2 minis that I'm training for therapy. I would like to take them to nursing home/hospitals.....we all know owning horses is not cheap! How much do you charge to make these visits?
thank u!
Ana
I am wondering the same!would love to do this as a job but wondering how to go about it...please let me know if you find out any info on it. Like school visits or such...thanks Nicki
 

fourluckyhorseshoes

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I don't think this is a viable career since most people do it as a volunteer and in their free time. Can't see nursing homes paying enough that it would be worth doing it as a full time job. Maybe Pony Parties where you can offer to bring the animals to someone's house and provide the entertainment.
 

Pitter Patter

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I work at a county owned nursing home. I plan to bring mine for visits, but wouldn't charge. Most bigger facilities have some sort of activity budget though. They could probably manage a small fee, but it probably wouldn't cover your costs.
 

Pitter Patter

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Yes, all the local nursing homes are closed to visitors. My mom is annoyed. She doesn't want to go anywhere, but it makes her made that someone tells her she can't!
I probably won't do any visiting until after clipping. My horses are terrible looking right now. NOT good advertisements for miniature horses.
All Michigan homes are locked to visitors, volunteers, etc. I am a social worker in a large county owned facility and they would normally beg for this kind of thing, but it is too risky right now. I had to have a COVID-19 test because of an allergy cough and have been off work for 5 days. Hopefully going back tomorrow! But, once restrictions are lifted and we are a ways out from this weird time and threats of illness, it would be a wonderful things to do!!
 
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Nicole1738

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we do this quite often with our mini horses and mini donkeys, the old folks are usually very receptive to the animals although if you go to a mental health facility like an alzheimer's unit, you need to understand that they are not always in control of what they say, we have had some people say nasty things but we just ignore it, it's not their fault. don't let it hurt your feelings! we did have one woman haul off and punch one unexpectedly, but we have done over 2 dozen visits and that was the only physical incident.

one thing i make sure to do right at the beginning is tell the people "the rules" which are simple - 1, do not feed your fingers to the ponies. they reach for their faces and while the horses would never bite to hurt someone, i'm sorry if you stick your fingers in their mouths you risk getting bit. 2, watch your feet and watch their feet, because they will not, and even though they are little it still hurts a lot when they step on you. again they would never do it on purpose but will on accident. we always suggest that people tuck their feet under their chairs if sitting.

as for getting started, i just looked in the phone book, and for me it was easier to write letters, but you could also call. speak with the activities director and offer your visits. we do ours as fundraising for our rescue, so we do not charge, but request that they make a donation under their budget. that way we don't leave anyone out (for instance charging $50 would leave out a facility with a $25 recreation budget...)

if you start doing this you will get hooked quick. we have some wonderful stories... i asked one woman in an alzheimer's unit if she would like to pet the donkey, and her reply was "why would i want to touch a stinkin' donkey?!?" i just said ok and moved along, but 5 minutes later she was calling me over to ask "if a person wanted one of those donkeys, how much money would it take?"

at another facility they had a reception area like a town square, and had brought all the residents out to see the animals. we asked the activities director if there was anyone that could not get out of bed as our mare Foxy will go right up to the bed and put her head in their lap... she said it's a mental facility so physically there isn't anyone that CAN'T come, but she did have one resident that always refused to participate in activities. she always knocks on his door and he always opens it, but when she invites him to come out and do whatever, he always yells "no, leave me alone" and slams the door in her face. well, i stayed in the lobby with the other two animals, and my husband and the activities director took Foxy down the hall and knocked on the man's door. he opened it, looked down and saw the little horse, opened the door wider, petted her and talked to her, and when he found out there were two more in the lobby, HE CAME OUT OF HIS ROOM AND ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE LOBBY TO SEE THEM. i will never forget the activities director, the tone of her voice when she said "you have NO IDEA what you have done here today!" it still brings tears to my eyes when i talk about it.

and i will never forget the first time Foxy went in an elevator... we had been visiting outside on the patio with partial-care residents and again offered to the activities director to take Foxy to visit full-care residents who could not get out of bed to come out and see the animals. she said "we are a 2-story facility, will she go in the elevator?" i told her i had no idea, but we could sure go see... so we walked inside, up to the elevator door, it opened, and i stepped in and asked Foxy to follow me. she looked at the silver track the doors slide on and hesitated, but i asked her again and she stepped in, lifting her legs REALLY high over that silver track. the doors shut and i thought for a split second "oh my God here we go" as the elevator started to move, but actually it's not near as much movement as the horse trailer, so she was just fine. she has now been in an elevator about a dozen times and it's old hat, but she is still careful not to step ON those silver tracks... i knew even if she did react to it that she would settle quickly, she is just such a special little girl and very in tune with the people around her. in fact sometimes residents want to hold a lead rope and she is always the one i give them, last visit we were at one of the residents walked her around the whole campus for the whole visit, we watched him carefully as he was a little shaky and unstable walking, but she was almost tip-toeing she was so careful not to put any pressure on that lead rope that might overbalance the old man...

anyway thanks for letting me ramble on, this is a pet subject of mine as you can tell! if you get going on this project be sure to share your special stories!!!
Do you need any certifications or anything? How did you prepare your minis?
 

Marsha Cassada

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They need footwear to prevent slipping. The main floors of nursing homes are usually non slip, but when you go into individual rooms, the floor is slick. Boots on at least the front hooves. One of mine wears Easy Boot and the other wears Equine Fusion.
I've never been asked for any certification. The facilities call me up and ask me to come. Word gets around!
Your horse needs to be calm and able to back up. Lots of times you get into a tight spot where the horse needs to maneuver calmly.
A simple trick, such as shaking hands, is always enjoyed.
I never allow treats because of the danger of a nibble.
I've never been paid nor even offered travel money. I never have asked, either.
A smiling face and cheery word is a huge plus for these folks.
We've been going to schools and nursing homes for 15 years. One of my recent horses gets a little nervous and she made a mess both times she visited. 'The staff weren't bothered, but next time I go with her, I will take a plastic grocery bag to clean up; my other horse never goes when he is working so I wasn't prepared. I have noticed with her, though, that she goes about 15 minutes into the job, so I'm going to walk her around the grounds for a while before we go in next time. (you'd think the trailer ride would be enough, but they somehow can produce another pile!)
Watch out for full length glass doors--horses can't see them and my poor boy ran into one the first time.
 

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