PRICE VARENNE. Peyo, a horse at the bedside of his patients at the hospital

Clémentine Mercier, a journalist from Ouest-France to the Angers editorial board, won Tuesday, November 6th the Varenne Foundation's prize in the category "departmental and regional daily newspapers". His report on the unexpected and touching encounter between a horse and the residents of a retirement home seduced the jury. Aged 28, Clementine herself is passionate about horses. Here is his article.


Clémentine Mercier, a journalist from Ouest-France to the Angers editorial board, won Tuesday, November 6th the Varenne Foundation's prize in the category "departmental and regional daily newspapers". His report on the unexpected and touching encounter between a horse and the residents of a retirement home seduced the jury. Aged 28, Clementine herself is passionate about horses. Here is his article.

Hassen Bouchakour, internationally renowned rider, travels through France with his four-hoofed pair. They visit fragile or end-of-life people. And, in contact with the animal, their reactions are unexpected.

Two days a month, the Ehpad des Orchards of Chartreuse de Dijon (Bourgogne Franche-Comté) welcomes a very particular visitor. Always accompanied by Hassen Bouchakour, several times world champion in artistic dressage, Peyo , a great stallion, regularly comes to bring well-being to the residents.

"Dr. Peyo"

Before visiting his patients, Dr. Peyo , as it is called here, is getting ready. Braided hair, greased feet, the body covered with an antiseptic lotion and a blanket. "The sanitary protocol is very strict," says Hassen Bouchakour, the trainer of this beautiful stallion beard. In the corridors of the accommodation for dependent elderly people (Ehpad) Orchard Chartreuse, in Dijon (Côte-d'Or), Peyo moves naturally. "He's at home," smiles Sandrine Bougenot, a caregiver.

In the corridors of the ehpad, the horse feels no fear and will spontaneously see the residents. | Thierry Creux

At the side of its owner, the horse feels no difficulty, no fear. He climbs into the elevator, goes to the patients' rooms, makes U-turns in tight spaces. "Hassen's relationship with this horse is magical," commented Pierre-Hubert Ducharme, health officer. They are constantly connected and constantly need to be close to each other. "

In Solange's room, Hassen and Peyo surround the old lady. Lying in bed, the resident is not at all impressed by the arrival of this imposing stallion. Hassen sits next to the patient, Peyo places her head above her. This is not the first time that Solange receives these atypical visitors. Since the end of November, the thirty-year-old rider and his horse come to this establishment two days a month.

A "connection" with patients

And, at each visit, the magic operates. " Peyo manages to create a connection with patients. It's a horse really apart, says Murielle Carillon, art therapist. As with this lady, usually shut up and can be aggressive. She does not work anymore and often holds her arms tight against her ribs. "

At the contact of the horse, Solange opens and is gentle with the animal. | Thierry Creux

But in contact with the horse, Solange is not the same. His big toothless smile does not leave his face. She reaches out to the animal, who drops her head to lick it. He sniffs it, cuddles it in his own way. Instinctively, the horse goes to his motionless legs. "We noticed that he detected sick members and began to lick them," says Hassen Bouchakour. Amazing.

"We must not seek explanations for everything, says Marie Lombard, geriatrician doctor and head of this service. There are things going on, that's for sure. Patients find the word in contact with this horse, others start to walk when they do not do it anymore. We, caregivers, we observe, we note all these reactions and we work on them. "

" Peyo , it's not Lourdes"

A little further, some darling grandmas are waiting for Dr. Peyo . "It's funny, the day before the arrival of the horse, many residents go to the hairdresser," says Sandrine Bougenot, caregiver. This is how the equine has the power to make happy these pretty ladies.

Among them, Irene. "She does not speak much more than Hungarian," says Sandrine Bougenot, but, on contact with the horse, she starts to speak French very well. A miracle? When Hassen Bouchakour and Peyo hear this word, their hair bristles. " Peyo , it's not Lourdes," the trainer insists. The horse soothes the patients, it awakens in them things buried in a moment T, but, in no case, it does miracles. "

The horse fascinates the residents. Thanks to the stallion, the residents have unexpected reactions. | Thierry Creux

The meeting of Peyo and Hassen, she can be described as miraculous. Six years ago, Hassen Bouchakour, multiple world champion in artistic dressage, travels the continents, from show to show. To flesh out his representations, he looks for a new horse. He is entrusted with Peyo . Problem, the current does not go between the two. "It was unbearable, I did not want to ride it anymore. I had even put it on sale. Then, one day, there was a click. We both understood each other. "

"There is always a heart that beats"

During shows, the trainer notices that Peyo instinctively goes to the disabled. At their touch, the usually fiery stallion is mild. The loss of a person dear to Hassen Bouchakour will be the trigger to embark on this adventure out of the ordinary. For three years, the man works hard with his stallion. "I had to teach him to control his balance on different floors, to make his needs on order, to get used to a lot of noise," he explains.

"I'm doing it because it's cultural for me," says Hassen. In the Maghreb, children care for the elderly. My goal is to make people understand that it is not because we are condemned by an illness that we must be abandoned. We must not forget that there is always a heart that beats. "

REF: https://www.ouest-france.fr/sante/dr-peyo-un-cheval-au-chevet-de-ses-patients-5620992