Balfour Senior Living Equine Therapy


“Wouldn’t it be easier to just bring in dogs or cats?” 

Perhaps, but Patricia Williams, Balfour Senior Living Life Enrichment Director, and Chandra Barker, Balfour Senior Living HR Analyst, would tell you that smaller animals might be easier to manage, but ultimately horses have a natural instinct as prey animals to be much more tuned in to their environment and the people in it.

And so Patricia and Chandra planned a visit by Chandra’s horse, Legacy, a 24-year-0ld, retired dressage champion mare, to Balfour at Cherrywood Village.


“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”  – An old 19th century adage

In 2014, Ohio State University published findings from a study which indicated that time spent with horses eased symptom of Alzheimer’s patients. Improvement in moods, decreased resistance to care and decreased sundowning were among the symptoms impacted.  Study participants also became more physically active.

Neuroendocrinology research has helped with understanding the impact that stress, aging and the hormone, cortisol, have on dementia. Equine therapy coupled with pharmaceutical therapy has resulted in reduced cortisol levels in dementia patients.


“Horses lend us the wings we lack” – Pam Brown, 1928

As one 93-year-old memory care resident approached Legacy, she harkened back to her days as a school-aged child and riding her own horse to school. Though in a wheelchair, her positive excitement was undeniable and she wanted to take a ride on Legacy.


The Balfour Way

We share all of this with you to highlight our commitment to enrich the lives of each and every memory care resident on the dementia journey.


To learn more about our memory care services (live-in and day services), explore our webpages, call, chat or use the contact form below.


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