April at Harbour Rise

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April at Harbour Rise


Our little Adoption pony April had a fantastic time when she visited the Harbour Rise Rest Home in Paignton.

Residents and staff got the chance to meet the 22-year-old Dartmoor hill pony on Friday, September 7th – and she loved every minute, from all the fuss and attention to the gentle scratches behind the ear.

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But the really heart-warming stories belonged to the residents, many of whom came alive at the sight of an animal which brought back such fond memories.

Stanley Blackburn who worked on the railways for 47 years and chatted about how he used to work with horses, pulling heavy machinery.

And April’s visit was the first time he had left his room in months, to lovingly stroke her soft muzzle and take a trip down memory lane.

Gladys Davies, 101-years-young, used to take regular trips to Dartmoor to see the ponies and loved being able to stroke April, who seemed to understand her fragility and stepped closer.

Harbour Rise owner Mark Edwards said: “The residents absolutely loved it and for some it had a special resonance.

“They are from a generation who still remember horses working the land and down the mines. And getting the chance to spend time with a pony really brought back happy memories.

“It was also great to see some residents, who don’t often like to leave the safety of their rooms, coming out to say hello.”

The Mare and Foal Sanctuary are ambassadors for international dementia awareness organisation Purple Angel, which means our staff have been trained to help people who may be struggling.


And every day we strive to help the older generation in our shops, visitor centre and amongst the wider community.

For more information give our education team a call on 01626 355969 or email education@mareandfoal.org and we will be happy to help.