Horse Tales: Ponies & Poetry for Dementia Care

Updated: Jul 12

Each week Gandalf and Gabriella travel to the Wyoming Retire Center in Basin, Wyoming. The two ponies are the stars of the program "Horse Tales: Ponies & Poetry for Dementia Care".



Gandalf, a miniature pony that visits the Wyoming Retirement Center each week.


Maria Lisa Eastman, the Executive Director and program lead has been taking them into the retirement home, much to the anticipation of the program participants, for the last six years. One participant, George, a retired cowboy from the Arapaho Ranch, has attended the "Horse Tales" program almost every week since the start-up. George excitedly rolls into the room and laughs as he greets his old friend, Gandalf. It's reported that he gleefully tells care-giving staff, "I get to see Gandalf today!"


George visiting with Gandalf.


Several participants get the same joy from these sweet ponies that show up every week and inspire smiles. Maria guides the participants to shape stories and poems based around the ponies. As they share words and memories, eventually a poem is built. Here is one of the poems the group wrote about spurs:


Spurs That Jingle


Sharp spurs sing,

jingle and ring

as the horse trots,

while heavy, hard metal,

sometimes silver roses,

bright and delicate,

glow atop dusty boots.


Over the years, enough poems and stories have been constructed that a book is being published this fall.


Gabriella (Gabby) is part of the team that brings joy to residents of the Wyoming Retirement Center.


The program is funded by a grant from the Wyoming Community Foundation.




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If you'd like to support the work of Maria, Gandalf and Gabriella and their weekly visits to the Wyoming Retirement Center, please consider donating to Rainhorse.






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