Dunstable octogenarian celebrates 83rd birthday by taking up new horse riding hobby

Amber Fairbrass (manager) and Julie Lever (keyworker) front left; Thelma's grandson and his partner (behind), and Nicola Grieve (daughter) next to Thelma.
Amber Fairbrass (manager) and Julie Lever (keyworker) front left; Thelma's grandson and his partner (behind), and Nicola Grieve (daughter) next to Thelma.

A Dunstable care home organised a birthday surprise so one of its octogenarians could achieve her dream and take up horse riding again.

Chiltern View, of West Street, planned plenty of horsing around for 83-year-old resident Thelma Morle after learning about one of her old hobbies.

Thelma used to be a great lover of horse riding, so the team thought there would be no better present than to take the birthday girl to Baylands Equestrian Centre, Stockwood Park, for a special treat.

Thelma said: “I had been told I would have a surprise for my birthday.

“Amber, our home manager, who had arranged the surprise along with Julie, my keyworker, and Nicola - my daughter who came to visit from America - came along with other family members.

“I had no idea I was going to ride a horse! Now, it had been 50 years since my last time on horseback.

“I was helped onto this gentle giant and off I went with two young ladies. I was so thrilled - I didn’t even notice the gentle rain.”

She added: “I felt quite at home on ‘Oasis’ who was so gentle. At first I didn’t think I could get on such a big horse, but I told myself ‘of course I can do it’ and I did.

“What an achievement at 83 years old!”

Amber Fairbrass, home manager, said: “Thelma was fab - she only needed a little help to mount.

“She held the reins as if it was only last week that she rode a horse, and kept her heels down as only a good rider would know how.

“Thelma said to me afterwards when we arrived back at Chiltern View, that it was the best thing she had ever done.

“I’d like to thank Becky at Baylands Equestrian Centre for kindly making this happen for Nicola - and to Nicola for keeping the secret.

“Thelma is considering going on a riding on a regular basis now, and even considering tandem sky-diving!”