A visit from Bushman the therapy horse to Marco Polo Aged Care Woonona this week took resident Eric Trezise back to his days working on inland cattle stations.
That may have been many decades ago, but the 90-year-old says he still has an affinity with the animals he once shared his days with.
"You never forget your association with a lovely animal like this one," he said, as he cradled Bushman's face in his hands and gave him a kiss.
"When you're in cattle country and on a horse, you feel like you're king of the country.
"I can see his visit is a real comfort to the 100 or more people gathered to see him today.
"For me it was also important to see how the horse felt - I can read their faces, and I could see he was a calm, steady, beautiful horse who was enjoying every minute of it too."
It's what the 19-year-old Appaloosa breed does best. Known as The Therapist with Hooves, Bushman spends his days visiting aged care and rehabilitation centres, lifting the spirits of residents.
Owner Christie Hall said: "I was working in a high care dementia unit and one day on my day off I thought I'd take Bushman in for a visit - we ended up staying for six hours.
"There were residents who never left their rooms, who left their rooms to see him ... residents who never talked, who came and said hello to him.
"So now we spend our days visiting people in aged care and bringing smiles to their faces."
It brings some to tears too - such as Marco Polo executive care manager Natalie Green who organised Bushman's visit and was touched at residents' reactions.
"You don't normally see a horse walking through the corridors of an aged care centre, and the response from residents at both our Woonona and Unanderra centres during Wednesday's visits has been incredible," she said.
"Many of our residents have had horse studs, were trainers or rode back in the day, so it's evoked a lot of memories for them.
"Others have never seen a horse up close, or touched one, so they're making new memories too.
"You hear a lot of negative things about aged care, but staff really do care - and they're all thrilled to see the residents' reactions to Bushman, to see how happy they are."