A miniature Shetland pony has been making elderly residents smile with regular trips to their care home.
Eleven-year-old Basil has been visiting Southwell Court Care Home, Southwell, ever since his owner’s grandad moved in.
Brittany Sparham, 25, and her family would also take other animals from their farm in Thurgarton to visit her grandad Wayne who lived there before he died.
But the residents enjoyed the visits so much Brittany – who has 280,000 followers on her Instagram page devoted to her horses – has carried on with Basil the star of the show.
She said: “When grandad passed away some of the residents asked if we would still bring the horse to visit because they loved them so much.
“We always go round each floor never missing anyone out.
“Many of the residents have dementia but some of them do remember Basil from their previous interactions.
“I suppose a horse in a care home is quite a memorable sight.”
The idea for the animal visits came as grandad Wayne loved animals but could not easily see them after he went into the home.
Arranging a trip to the farm was too difficult so Brittany took the animals to him.
Brittany praised the home for their care of the elderly.
She said: “The home used to go on all sorts of road trips but the pandemic stopped that as it became too risky.”
When lockdown restrictions had eased slightly the family also took lambs, Sir Percival and Sir Lambsalittle, into the home whilst wearing full PPE to protect residents.
She added: “We wore full PPE to keep the residents safe so they could enjoy having the lambs there.”
The pair were well received by everyone and even took the time to shake hands with a blind lady as a staff member described what the sheep looked like so she could join in the fun.
The family had originally hoped to visit with their two pigs, Notorious P.I.G and Piggy Azalea but decided they might be a bit too boisterous for the old folks.
Brittany added: “They’re quite lively for pigs and I think they would’ve just run riot round the home.”
Originally Brittany had only two horses of her own but over time has taken in highland cows, pigs, sheep, chickens and many more horses.
All of which have creative names courtesy of Brittany including the highland cow ‘Moona Lisa’, sheep ‘Willi-lamb Shakespeare’, and chicken ‘Her Eggsellence’.
She said: “Sometimes I think of a name before I’ve got an animal to go with it.”
She added: “We’re just short of an ark here.
“I’ve taken in so many animals whose owners can no longer care for them or who were about to put them down but asked if I could keep them here.
“Although I did have to draw the line when someone offered me a group of seven cockerels.
“I think that would have been a bit too much.”