Woman with dementia gets the ride of a lifetime

NEWTON, NC (WBTV) - It may not seem that big of a deal to simply ride a horse, but when horses were a part of some of the best memories of your life, it's a very big deal to simply ride a horse.

Barbara Taylor grew up in rural Haywood County in Western North Carolina. "I wasn't afraid of no horses, I loved horses," Taylor said. She says her family often relied on horses instead of cars to get to town.

Taylor is now in her 70's and living in an assisted living community, Abernethy Laurels, in Newton. It's been more than 20 years since she saddled up. That was until a few weeks ago, when her dream to ride again came true.

Through Abernethy Laurels' "Grant a Dream" program, caregivers arranged for Taylor to ride at Rising Hope Farms, a local therapeutic riding center.

"I got him and I put my arm around him and I told him I love him and petted him," Taylor said of her meeting with the horse.

On September 29, Taylor suited up in full denim gear and donned a straw riding hat. She saddled up on a Appaloosa named Gideon and had the time of her life.

Her memories of the event are a little foggy. Dementia has stolen the way her brain processes some things. She fondly recalls her time with her childhood horses "Baby" and "Beauty" but has trouble recalling more recent memories.

But she'll always have the pictures of the event where no words need to describe the way riding made her feel. On the back of a beautiful horse, a beautiful woman was a kid again, and the only thing more beautiful than that, was her smile.

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