This Maverick is a ‘Top Gun’ when it comes to putting smiles on faces

Maverick has been trained for the past 18 months to offer comfort. “It’s obvious he loves having people pat him and he likes to cheer them up.” “Horses have been a big part of their lives and to be able to experience interacting with a horse again and seeing the look that comes over them when they do, it’s just amazing.”

101-year-old Phyllis Coble wanted to make sure Maverick was happy doing his job. As Maverick made his way around the nursing home, staff were thrilled to see the reactions of typically reserved residents. Photo:
Residents were delighted to have a four-legged friend drop in for a visit. “We wanted to share the experience of horse therapy with people who are in a situation where they may not get opportunities to interact with pets and animals,” Nerida said. (ABC News: Franklin Hood)
The two-year-old horse has been learning the ropes for the past 18 months under equine trainers Nerida Winters and her daughter Ellen. (ABC News: Franklin Hood)
“A number of these people we’ve seen rode to school on horses. Residents at a Canberra nursing home were delighted by a surprise visit this week from a miniature horse called Maverick.The therapy horse was showered with love when he visited Mirinjani.Pet therapy has a history of success at the home, particularly for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.Wellness coordinator Jo Sumner said some residents had an extra-special connection with Maverick.”Because we’ve got a lot of people from farms, seeing them have that interaction with the horse has been really amazing,” she said.”It’s so uplifting for all of our staff and residents.”

Even a short visit from a therapy animal can increase serotonin levels. “He’s a people-oriented horse; people are his greatest love,” she said. “We really just want to brighten people’s days. “To see the look on her face when she saw him is just so special for us,” Ms Sumner said. (ABC News: Franklin Hood)
For 101-year-old Phyllis Coble, Maverick was worthy of a kiss. “He’s got a big long mane which is terrific for people with disability and dementia, because they can have that contact even when physically they may not be able to do very much. “It’s a reference to Top Gun,” Nerida said. (ABC News: Hannah Walmsley)
Ms Winters said regular outings to nursing homes around Canberra meant Maverick was becoming a local star. (ABC Canberra: Hannah Walmsley)
Maverick’s name was inspired by the goose-shaped white patch on his shoulder. Photo:
Residents were particularly impressed with Maverick’s footwear.
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By Hannah Walmsley


April 12, 2018 16:30:13

Video: Meet Maverick the therapy horse

(ABC News)