An 87-year-old former horse jumper with Parkinson’s disease got her wish to ride again.
Nelly Jacobs, of the Netherlands, was diagnosed with the debilitating disease more than three decades ago, forcing her to give up riding. Now she spends most her days in a wheelchair in hernursing home.
But, thanks to Hidden Desires, a project of two charities called The Care Group and the Green Cross, Jacobs was granted her wish to ride a horse again at a nearby riding school.
“Horses have always been important to her; ever since she was a child, until her Parkinson’s got the best of her,” Jacobs’ son Jan said in a now viral Facebook video.
He added, “Her uncle Fons put her on a horse when she was 9. Later on, she rode several horses and she even made a decent jumper.”
Jan accompanied his mother to the riding school where she was able to meet several horses in a stable and even smell the hay, an aroma she called “delicious,” before riding.
“This is a very emotional day for her,” her son said. “So she won’t be able to speak, but I can tell she loves every second of seeing the horses, smelling the stables,” her son said. “These things matter to her because she must have missed it at the nursing home.”
After her meet-and-greet, Jacobs was brought to an enclosed arena. She was then gently lifted onto the backs of two horses, who rode side-by-side.
Jacobs called the experience “wonderful” as a broad smile appeared on her face.
“Lots of memories are coming back to her,” her son said in the video. “Her whole life revolved around horses, so through this experience, she’s able to feel the joy again and reminisce about things from her past.”