Four hooves brought a little Poetry to residents at Avamere at Rio Rancho senior community earlier this month.

Mike Raupp and Poetry cheer up seniors watching through windows at Avamere at Rio Rancho. Courtesy photo.

With the 85 seniors in the independent living, assisted living and memory care facility having been isolated due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Director of Sales and Outreach Jennifer Mannix requested a visit from Poetry, the black-and-white equine ambassador of the Rio Rancho nonprofit Loving Thunder Therapeutic Riding Inc.

So, on April 7, Loving Thunder co-founders Twuana and Mike Raupp brought Poetry to Avamere. Mike led the Gypsy Vanner horse around the outside of the building to peek into windows, so residents could say hello without any concerns of virus exposure. They were also treated to ice cream during the visit.

“Poetry the horse brought so many memories to the residents,” Mannix said. “It was fun to see the smiles on everyone’s faces.”

She has volunteered at Loving Thunder, assisting with riding sessions, and knew Poetry from those efforts.

Twuana said the horse stays calm and has visited many places around the community, from athletic fields to car repair shops to the inside of other senior communities before social distancing.

“That’s just kind of her job here, to meet and greet people,” Twuana said.

Loving Thunder can’t provide riding sessions now because staff and volunteers would have to get closer than 6 feet to help clients with sessions, she said. The nonprofit needs donations.

“We’re trying to keep our staff and still pay for horse food,” Twuana said.

She plans to go back to the organization’s regular work as soon as regulations are lifted.

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