CARE home residents who cannot see relatives because of Covid-19 were “overjoyed” to receive a morale-boosting visit from a miniature horse.

Residents at Rosevale Care Home in York “benefit greatly” from pet therapy, which allows them to interact with the animal, staff said.

Sarah Fearn, lifestyle and activities co-ordinator at the home, said many residents who usually spent a lot of time in their rooms interacted with others and stroked the horse.

Sarah said that around 90 per cent of residents at the home suffer from dementia and they benefit from pet therapy as it allows them to express themselves and interact with the animals.

She said: “We put things like this on all the time, different pets every month come into the care home.

“The home is really supportive of these things.

“Pet therapy is so important to the care home as it brings back memories for residents and it allows people to express themselves in ways they probably wouldn’t otherwise.

“It’s really good for people with dementia.

“We had a lady who was really upset 10 minutes before, she was crying, we took the horse to her and within minutes she was so happy.

“Even the residents who are quiet and don’t mingle, they talked to the other people. It was really lovely."

The miniature horse, a 10-year-old male named Monet, spent around an hour in the home.

The home has not had a Covid case throughout the pandemic, but due to restrictions, residents have only been able to see families through a glass screen in the garden and visits have been restricted.

She added: “We followed all the procedures, we’ve never had a case of Covid.

Of Monet's visit to the home, Sarah added: “It was extra special, it was just nice to see so many smiley faces during these tough times.”