Horseback riding to happy memories

Barbara Black shares a moment with Patrick at the Heathermoor Farm Riding Academy after her ride on Oct. 22. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

By AMY JONES / Associate Editor

LEEDS — When Barbara Black woke up Oct. 22 at the Lakeview Estates senior living community on Valleydale Road, she had no idea what the day had in store.

Angela Shields, an employee at Lakeview Estates, walked in and told Black she would get to live one of her dreams — another horseback ride after a lifetime full of them.

“She just said, ‘I don’t have my riding clothes!’” Shields said, chuckling. “It was a surprise to her, but I’ve been touch with her family about it.”

Black, who is 78, rose horses for 50 years of her life. However, she hasn’t ridden in about 20 years. That all changed Oct. 22.

As Black rode around an arena at Heathermoor Farm in Leeds, her daughter, Babs Oliver, said her mother made it apparent what her dream was. Oliver was there, along with Black’s sons, Alan and William, to help her mother celebrate.

Barbara Black happily gives out hugs to Lakeview Estates employees Teonya Fox, right, and Angela Shields, far left, after a day of riding. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

“They were asking them what their (dreams) were, and my mother was one of the first ones who spoke up and said, ‘I want to go riding again,’” Oliver said.

Shields said helping residents do what they want is part of a program called Second Wind Dreams, which works to help senior citizens fulfill their dreams.

“We want to figure out their hobbies and interests,” Shields said. “It’s just a way for us to make a dream happen for one of our residents.”

After Black dismounted, she said she enjoyed her trip to happy memories, but continuing would require some work.

“I loved that, but I’ve got to get the kink out of my right hip,” she said, laughing.

Heathermoor Farm owner Jennifer Fernambucu said she was just happy to be part of Black’s special day.

Heathermoor Farm is a training facility for riders of American Saddlebred horses.

“All the people here love to ride. There’s just something a horse does for all people,” Fernambucu said. “When they called us, I said, ‘What a great thing! We’d love to do that.’ It’s an opportunity to give back. It’s such a neat idea.”