Icelandic horses visit area assisted living facilities to spark joy

Cambridge couple are spreading the love with help from their five-horse herd.

Five Icelandic horses are gaining fame by bringing joy to people, including residents at area assisted living facilities. Robin Anderson-Guernsey and her husband, Wil, own horses Glytja, Soti, Stjarna, Kommi and Hrimnir in Cambridge. During COVID-19, the couple brought the horses to Home Again Assisted Living in Cambridge, Waunakee and Columbus as well as another facility in DeForest.

“The visits were amazing,” Anderson-Guernsey says. “The elderly were crying, we were crying. It was really emotional because the horses made them feel less isolated. Some of the memory care patients even reacted to the horses.

Donning bunny ears and oversized sunglasses, the herd peered into rooms to the delight of residents. The special visits were featured in People Magazine.

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Anderson-Guernsey and Wil moved from downtown Madison to Cambridge and built a house with an attached barn so their horses could “live” with them. “I’m kind of like the crazy cat lady, but with horses,” she says.

The assisted living facility visits hold special meaning for Anderson-Guernsey, who enjoys helping others who may be suffering from loneliness, depression, anxiety or sadness. She lost her father, Sam, to suicide in 2018. It was Sam who encouraged her to ride and show horses as a young girl. Now Anderson-Guernsey’s goal is to help keep others smiling and laughing by sharing pictures and videos of her Icelandic herd. You can find more content on IamGlytja’s website, Instagram and Facebook pages.

“We just try to cheer up people who are struggling,” she says. “Horses are really good at making people feel loved.”