Montgomery Home receives visit from ‘living legend’

The residents of HammondCare’s Montgomery Home in Caulfield have been treated to a spontaneous visit from horseracing legend, Apache Cat.

The manager of Montgomery Home, Charles Cisotomo, said the visit was a great experience for the residents living with dementia.

“The residents were so happy, as were staff. They were full of thanks and it was great to see everyone take pride in the occasion. Afterwards, the residents were keen to tell others about the horse's visit,” said Charles.

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The distinctly-marked gelding sprung to prominence in 2008 with a record-matching string of ‘Group One’ race wins (a record that had been held since 1957), before a fractured leg forced him into retirement, in 2009.

Apache Cat now soaks up the retirement lifestyle at Living Legends: International Home of Rest for Champion Horses. It was their staff that so positively responded to Charles’ request for an impromptu visit.

“The horse was out for the day visiting nearby Caulfield Hospital and so we asked his handlers if they could spare a minute for our residents and they were more than happy to. They were very generous with their time,” said Charles.

“We had six residents that were really eager to interact with the horse. Some were patting him; some were feeding him carrots and some were just happy to observe.

“Some of our residents come from country communities, where horses are commonplace. It can be difficult to replicate this in an aged care environment, so it’s great to give them opportunities like this to engage with their past.”

Straight from the horse's mouth

Andrew Clark, CEO and Veterinary Director at Living Legends, says that there is a lot more to interacting with a horse than meets the eye.

“We want to give people the opportunity to meet and mingle with these champion horses. It’s more than the spectacle, there’s the sound, touch and smell of a horse that people really seem to respond to.

“A lot of people in their eighties and nineties had regular contact with horses, so it’s a chance for them to relive those experiences."

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