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Once an equestrian, always an equestrian

By Leslie Potter

Monday, December 19, 2011

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I came across this gem in my daily perusal of horse world news. A 98-year-old great-grandmother in Montana mentioned to her granddaughter that she’d like to go for a ride. Gladys McLarnon had ridden throughout her entire life, but it had been 15 years since her last ride. Her granddaughter passed the request along to a hospice worker, who contacted a nearby therapeutic riding center.

With her family by her side and help from instructors at Angel Horses, McLarnon had her wish granted and took a spin on a 29-year-old horse named Jesse James. Click here to see the video, and here to read the story.

Let’s get this out of the way: she wasn’t wearing a helmet, which does seem a bit crazy, but since the horse was being led and she had two sidewalkers, we’ll assume she was as safe as a 98-year-old can be on a horse’s back.

There’s a lot to love about this story. For one thing, instead of being turned down by her family and caretaker, they allowed her to do something that made her happy, even though they must have had some doubts about the whole thing. Secondly, Jesse James is a bright-eyed Arabian, and a rescue horse at that. Sure, he’s 29, but it’s nice to see a horse shatter breed stereotypes. The sleepiest stock horse or draft cross couldn’t have taken better care of McLarnon.

Finally, it’s inspirational to see that horses really can be a lifelong love. If you needed some motivation to kick-start your new year’s resolution, note that McClarnon’s daughter, Marilee Wold, told the paper that her mother had always been active as a competitive golfer and bowler in addition to trail riding with her husband throughout her life. Stay in motion now, and you’ll be better able to keep moving when you’re approaching your 100th year.

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Reader Comments

Kygal    rural, KY

2/22/2012 11:16:01 AM

what a cool story

Southern Californian    San Diego, CA

12/21/2011 8:52:36 PM

What a wonderful story!!! I really admire the Social Worker for setting this up and I truly think the Angel Horses program is making dreams come true! I only wish all Nursing homes and Assisted Living Facilities would consider programs like Gladys was able to experience. I would love to hear more about Angel Horses and their programs. Thanks to Leslie Potter for sharing this wonderful story!

Galadriel    Lothlorien, ME

12/21/2011 3:15:08 PM

I hope I can still ride at 98. If I'm still alive, that is.

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