Pony visit.JPGPatients at Royal Hampshire County Hospital received an unusual visitor when a miniature Shetland pony popped in to see them.

Staff working on the elderly care wards at Winchester hospital arranged for the pony, called Super Noodles, to pay a visit to their patients, who got the chance to stroke and brush him, as well as put colourful ribbons in his mane.

Eva Nicholson, one of the patients who got the chance to meet Super Noodles, said: “I loved seeing the pony. I was brought up on a farm, had a pet pony and learned to ride horses from the age of four, so it brought back a lot of lovely memories for me.

“I really enjoy the activities the staff put on for us. It breaks the day up a bit, because it can get a bit boring being in hospital, so it’s nice to get out of the ward and do something different.”

Super Noodles’ visit was organised by Mark Badham, who is the clinical matron on Freshfield Ward at Winchester hospital and marked the opening of the Willow Suite, an area where patients can take part in a wide range of activities and therapies away from the wards.

Mark said: “The visit was a total success and I actually found it quite emotional because of the way the patients responded to and interacted with Super Noodles. I’d like to say a big thank you to Pony Pals for agreeing to bring him in and to all of my colleagues who helped to make it happen.

“Being able to take part in activities, whether that be a visit from a Pets as Therapy dog, a music session or simply reminiscence therapy, where we talk about events that happened in the past, has a massive benefit for our patients.

“Being off of the ward and doing something different really cheers them up, helping us to open up lines of communication, and we see a real difference in their behaviour for several hours afterwards.”