Equine visitors bring delight to Colten Care Avon Reach Mudeford

Man's most loyal servant visits lady who still helps to pay his keep

Equine visitors Colonel and Elvis bring delight to Colten Care's Avon Reach home, especially to Margaret! 

Colten Care resident Margaret with Colonel a horse and carer

Ed Note: If a dog is man’s best friend, then the horse is his most loyal servant. – Joseph V. DiBianca, Loudly They Speak: The Memoirs of a Horse Listener

Horses from the Fortune College Bransgore visit Avon Reach in Mudeford

A pair of horses who normally work with young disabled people have brought joy to elderly residents of a Dorset care home.

Colonel and Elvis made a 15-mile round trip in a twin horse box from The Fortune College, centre for riding therapy in Bransgore, to Colten Care’s Avon Reach home in Mudeford.

Reunion between long term sponsor and bringer of joy!

Their special visit served as a personal thank-you to Avon Reach resident and horse-lover Margaret Barnes who has contributed to Colonel’s living costs for more than 15 years.

Margaret first became involved with the college around 20 years ago when she was editing the New Milton talking newspaper for blind and partially sighted people in the New Forest.

She became interested in sponsoring a horse after hearing that a local bank provided support that way.   

Colonel the horse being given a carrot by Colten Care resident PeterMargaret said: “I really liked the idea of what the college was about and all the good work they were doing with the children. I love horses but have never ridden one except as a child.

“Before Colonel I sponsored a horse called Bertie. I used to visit the college quite often to see the horses work. 

“It was delightful to see Colonel and Elvis making the trip to Avon Reach. I continue to support Colonel with sponsorship and it was such a joy to welcome both horses for an afternoon with us.”  

The visit came about after college representatives offered to bring the horses to see Margaret and fellow residents in line with the relaxing of Covid restrictions on care home visits.      

Jane Roberts, Companionship team member at Avon Reach, said: “Our residents thoroughly enjoyed meeting the horses. They spent time stroking the pair and feeding them carrots, which were consumed very quickly.

“Both Colonel and Elvis were very gentle and the smell and feel of them contributed to a really pleasurable experience all round.

Precious moments: physical presence combines with past experience to prompt renewed pleasure

“Many of our residents have spent time with horses in the past and it was fantastic to witness the precious moments when they could renew hands-on contact with a pat and a stroke.”

For resident Jean Davies, the experience broke new ground. “I had never stroked a horse before and I was thrilled,” said Jean. “It was the highlight of my year.”Elvis the pony

College Principal Jane Delves and Equine Manager Claire Wesson both accompanied the horses.

Jane said: “This was a lovely trip and we were so happy to see the residents come outside and greet the horses.

“We’re grateful to Margaret for her continued sponsorship of Colonel. We rely on such support to help towards the costs of essentials such as feed, hay, shoes and teeth checks.”

Both the college and Avon Reach hope to arrange a return visit later this year.

About Colonel, Elvis and Fortune College

Colonel is a 25-year-old piebald (black and white) cob while Elvis is a New Forest grey pony, aged 20.

Fortune College is a specialist centre that prepares young people with learning disabilities to live as independently as possible and participate in their local communities. Its patron is the actor Martin Clunes.

Images from top:

Avon Reach resident Margaret Barnes reunites with horses Colonel and Elvis from The Fortune College. Margaret has sponsored Colonel’s living costs for more than 15 years. With them is the college’s Equine Manager Claire Wesson.  

Avon Reach resident Peter Denning feeds Colonel a carrot

Elvis from The Fortune College on his visit to Colten Care’s Avon Reach care home in Mudeford.

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Three of Colten's New Forest homes are rated Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission: Linden House specialist dementia care home in Lymington, Woodpeckers residential home in Brockenhurst and Kingfishers in New Milton.

Find out more about Colten Care

With more than 30 years’ experience, Colten Care is an award-winning family-owned care home company. It has 21 quality care homes covering Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire and Sussex and offers a range of services spanning residential, nursing and dementia care. Seven of the homes are rated Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission and Colten Care earns a consistently high group score, currently 9.9 out of ten, on the public review site Carehome.co.uk. Based on such third-party advocacy, Colten Care is the UK’s highest-rated care home group for its size.

All Colten Care homes are registered for nursing care

Excellent nurse led careAll homes are registered for nursing care and four are dedicated dementia care homes with Admiral Nurse support. Unlike people who receive domiciliary care in their own homes, residents in Colten Care homes have the reassurance that 24/7 nurse-led care with companionship is on hand whenever they need it. Residents live in the highest standards of accommodation, enjoying homecooked food, fresh laundry and housekeeping services, and safe, peaceful and inspiring gardens. Colten Care also supports residents to raise thousands of pounds for charities of their choice every year. Founded more than 35 years ago, Colten Care has won multiple awards for the quality of its care and remains an independent, family-owned care home provider. For more information, visit www.ColtenCare.co.uk

Three Colten Care homes in the New Forest are rated outstanding

Colten Care operates six residential nursing and care homes in the New Forest, three of which are rated Outstanding and three of which are in Lymington: Belmore Lodge, Court Lodge and dementia specialist Linden House (Outstanding). There are also homes in Brockenhurst -Woodpeckers (Outstanding), New Milton - Kingfishers (Outstanding) and Mudeford - Avon Reach. Click on the links to find out more about each home... 

Colten Care's Avon Reach    Colten Care Court Lodge Lymington    Colten Care Linden House Lymington 

Colten Care Belmore Lodge Lymington    Colten Care Kingfishers New Milton    Colten Care Woodpeckers Brockenhurst




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