Miniature horse trots into the hearts of residents at Blue Bell Place
Betty Highley got the surprise of her life when her dreams trotted into reality.
Highley, a resident of Blue Bell Place Assisted Living and a member of the “Bucket List Club,” got to take care of a miniature horse IoU WhH fiUVW WLPH Ln FloVH Wo 10 years Sept. 6.
The Bucket List Club at Blue Bell Place helps identify ways for residents to thrive by allowing them to suggest activities that they have dreamed of doing again, but haven’t been able to do in a long time. While many residents have UHTuHVWHd WhLngV lLNH fiVhLng oU learning a new language, Highley said she’s wanted to take care of a horse again and associates at Blue Bell Place said they were excited Wo finDlly PDNH LW D UHDlLWy.
Standing just 35 inches high, Penelope is a miniature horse that lives at the Everything Little carm, a 5-acre family farm in Bedminster, Bucks County. The farm’s owner, Donna Beers, rescued Penelope from a likely trip to the slaughterhouse and got her FHUWLfiHd DV D WhHUDSy SHW WhUough the Delta Society. Penelope’s Helping Hooves has been bringing joy and healing to special needs children and adults in schools, nursing homes and hosSLWDlV VLnFH 2006. BHHUV VDLd 3H- nelope is a welcome sight when she goes on visits to nursing homes and schools and is even VPDll Hnough Wo fiW Ln Dn HlHvDtor, bringing smiles wherever she goes.
AIWHU WhH VuUSULVHd 81-yHDU-old Highley got to meet Penelope and engage in some much needed cuddling, the two lead a miniature parade around the complex.
Highley said the T-year-old Penelope reminded her of her fiUVW hoUVH, Molly B., WhDW VhH goW whHn VhH wDV 15 yHDUV old whLlH living in Skippack. She said horses have played a big part in her life and she owned them until her “children grew up and stopped riding them” and she moved to a condominium.
The gentle-tempered Penelope allowed everyone to pet her and rarely made any sort of fuss at all.
“f think this absolutely has thrown my depression f was in,” Highley exclaimed. “f haven’t IHlW WhLV hDSSy Ln DW lHDVW 10 years. f feel like f could just get on a horse and ride off.
“They’re different from children,” Highley said regarding horses. “Easier to love.”
Emily Cuff, activities director at Blue Bell Place, said the Bucket List Club has only been around for three months and she is still surprised by the number of activities they are able to make happen.
“ft’s truly remarkable to see their reactions,” when residents get to see a wish come true, she said.
fn a few weeks, she said, they wLll EH IulfillLng D UHVLdHnW’V wLVh to go ice skating again.
“ft’s amazing how many [organizations] will agree [to help],” she said. cor example, she said in regards to ice skating, she simply called up a rink and the employees said they could make it happen to her astonishment. She said the program allows residents to be in their “element” and experience “what’s on their mind, all day.”
Plans are already in the works to bring back Penelope, this time with a carriage so Highley can take a ride.
Betty Highley happily pets Penelope during the horse’s visit to Blue Bell Place Sept. 6.