Texas Tech Program Helps 98-Year-Old Lubbockite Fulfill Lifelong Wish - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/10/08

Texas Tech Program Helps 98-Year-Old Lubbockite Fulfill Lifelong Wish

One special Lubbockite can check off another item from her "bucket list". Thelma Porter is 98 years old and on Friday she rode a horse for the first time in her life.

"Is it the first time you've ridden a horse?" asked NewsChannel 11. "Yeah," Thelma said. "It is? So you waited until 98 years to do it?" we wondered. A laughing Thelma replied, "That was alright."

Miss Thelma, as she's known by her closest friends, rode that horse like a true Texan. Friends and family were there to support her, but most importantly, her daughter Nina. "I think it's one of the most spectacular events of my life," Nina said.

Miss Thelma rode a horse named Molly. Molly is part of a special program at Texas Tech University to make dreams like this come true. "We're the Texas Tech Therapeutic Riding Program and we provide therapeutic riding to children and adults with disabilities in the South Plains area," said Heather Hernandez.

Hernandez and her team have helped people of all ages ride a horse, but she says Miss Thelma is now the most senior rider they've had. "At 98 years old she certainly is. And our youngest rider is 2, so that's a pretty big spread, Hernandez said.

And this program has helped this 98-year-old lady find a new hobby. "Is it your new favorite thing to do?" asked NewsChannel 11. "Yeah," she replied.     

Now you might just think that at 98, there might be a little fear that comes along with riding a horse for the first time, but Miss Thelma took to riding like she'd been doing it for a lifetime. Nina on the other hand, was a different story. "Miss Thelma do you think your daughter was more worried than you were?" we asked. Thelma said, "I'd imagine."

If you would like to help someone you love ride a horse you can contact the Texas Tech Therapeutic Riding Center at 792-4683 or click here for more information.

There is a cost associated with this program but organizers say 75 percent of those who ride, ride for free because of grants and riderships. 

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