Family-owned Colten Care laid on an exclusive marquee for them and their families and friends over the two-day Portman Horse Trials.
The parties enjoyed minibus travel, a champagne welcome, picnic lunch and strawberry cream tea with close-up viewing of the cross-country, show jumping and dressage competitions.
The trip to the Rushmore Estate at Tollard Royal on the Wiltshire-Dorset border was a particular treat for Joan Press, a short-stay resident at Brook View in West Moors.
Joan said: “My father took me to the horse racing at Epsom when I was growing up and I’ve admired horses ever since. When I heard of the trip here to the Portman Trials, I was interested immediately. It’s been such a pleasant surprise to have the chance to come and enjoy the day.”
Various competitors stopped by the marquee to say hello including Somerset rider Henrietta Ewell and her horse Cool Fantasy.
As well as Brook View, Colten Care residents travelled from Whitecliffe House in Blandford, Amberwood House in Ferndown, Castle View in Dorchester, Newstone House in Sturminster Newton and Abbey View in Sherborne.
Ellie Peters, one of four Senior Companionship Team Leaders at Colten Care, said: “It was quite a logistical exercise to arrange the visits over the two days but it was well worth it judging by the smiles and laughter all round. We know that many of our residents enjoy live sport and we always like to give them the best seats in the house. Everyone said it was a wonderful experience and is keen to go again next year.”
The Portman Horse Trials help world class riders prepare for international events such as Badminton and Burghley while giving less experienced challengers a taste of competition in dressage, show jumping and cross country. Among those taking part this year was Olympian William Fox-Pitt.