One Minnesota nursing home has handed the reins to an unconventional therapy animal: Toby, the therapy horse.  

The horse, who hails from Heritage Horses farm, recently came with his owner to visit the Good Samaritan Society Windom to help break up the loneliness and routine for seniors.

Normally, Windom residents would be taking a nap after lunch, but Toby brought them out of their rooms, said Good Samaritan Society CNA Rick Musegades.

Seeing the resident’s faces light up is worth a million dollars,” he said.

Hvinden, who has a background in long-term care, said equine therapy can prove particularly effective for residents in memory care units.

“Even those who are non-verbal, having a hard time or living in dementia care units will look at him and light up,” she said. “And Toby is so gentle and amenable to the residents. He loves them.”

The recent event was arranged by Debbra Peterson, a well-being consultant for Good Samaritan. Read more about Toby’s visit, and watch a video of him interacting with residents, here.