NEW HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- Silver Saddles is a program created by Horse and Buddy, a group dedicated to spreading equine assisted therapies, designed to connect seniors with horses through bonding experiences.
Silver Saddles started this past spring, adding a new program to the ones already several offered at Horse and Buddy in New Hill, NC.
"We bring out seniors from all different assisted living places in Cary, Apex, and other facilities as well. Some of the seniors that come out are just assisted living, some of them are in memory care." said Janet Mason, Executive Director of Horse and Buddy.
The most recent participants of the Silver Saddles program were residents from StoneRidge Gracious Retirement Living. Many of the seniors recalled their own pets from their childhood as they groomed the horses and fed them peppermints.
"Usually while they're brushing they're telling us stories of growing up on a farm or growing up on a ranch, and their experience with animals and horses," said Rosa Scarborough, Therapeutic Horseback Riding Instructor.
The Silver Saddles program contains many elements to allow a relaxing bonding experience between the horses and the visiting seniors. Seniors are invited to brush the horses, groom them, decorate them, feed them treats and then watch a horse parade.
"I think that Silver Saddles is really important because seniors don't get to go out a whole lot of the time, you know they go on different field trips but to be out in nature and connect with animals...It's always a little bit of a miracle for me and I feel like the memories we're letting them make and continue to make as seniors is critical." said Janet Mason.