RESIDENTS at The Abbey in Old Malton had a surprise visitor recently.

A miniature Shetland pony, called Josh, popped into the residential home with owner Jean Coulthard.

Manager Ann Race, said: “One of our staff members, Fran Embleton, saw an article online about horses visiting hospitals, she herself, has a hunter called Firewall, or Blue as we know him, who regularly visits the Abbey - but is just too big to visit the residents room to room.

“Having seen first hand how much joy Blue gives to the more mobile residents, she contacted Jean to see if she would visit with Josh. Fran arranged the transport - and the rest they say is history,”

Ann said it was hoped Josh, would become a regular visitor.

“We have a retired racehorse trainer and two retired jockeys with us who thoroughly enjoyed the miniature Shetland,” she added.

“ He also jogged the memories of retired farmers who told stories of working the land.”