Aww!
87-year-old former show jumper with Parkinson’s asks to ride horse one last time
Nelly had been an avid show jumper. Now, all she wanted was to experience her passion one last time.
Jenny Brown
04.26.22

For many of us, animals play a huge roles in our lives. They’re our companions and they’re always by our sides. The most common animal companions are cats and dogs. But some people are lucky enough to form an incredible bond with a horse.

Nelly Jacobs was one of those people.

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Nelly Jacobs was 87-years-old and suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

Like many ailments of its kind, Parkinson’s is a gradually debilitating illness that can cause tremors, stiffness, slow movement and impaired balance as its victims get older. For Jacobs, who had struggled with the illness for over 30 years, this meant that she had to stop her beloved hobby of horse jumping as it was too dangerous.

Still, Jacobs wanted to ride a horse again.

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Fortunately, a group in the Netherlands called Hidden Desires was ready to fulfill her wish.

Hidden Desires is a joint effort shared between Green Cross and The Care Group, two charities that provide helpful services to those struggling with disabilities and other serious health issues. The challenge was how to get Jacobs safely on top of the horse while still experiencing the feeling of a horseback ride.

The team at Hidden Desires was up to the challenge.

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With the help of a special carriage, Jacobs’ dream was made possible. The Hidden Desires team carefully lowered Jacobs onto a bed suspended over the backs of two horses, all in an enclosed carriage-like structure.

Once she was safely secured, the team was off to the races.

For Jacobs, Parkinson’s disease sometimes makes it hard to do clear facial expressions or to express emotions. Still, she had no difficulty showing how happy she was that day.

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Thanks to the good Samaritans at Hidden Desires, Jacobs had the time of her life.

As a youth, Jacobs had competed in equestrian competitions and had done well for herself. Having those experiences taken away from her was as hard as any of the other symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. When she finally got to feel the horses moving underneath her again, she was beyond grateful.

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People took to the comments of the YouTube video to share their love for the video.

“What a beautiful story. The joy that you see on Mrs. Jacobs face means the world. And kudos to her family for arranging this and giving her this special moment and memory,” one commenter wrote.

Another added:

“I’m not easily moved to tears, but this did it for me. So poignant.”

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It’s so wonderful to see Jacobs getting to fulfill her dreams. It’s clear how meaningful this moment was to her, and it’s beautiful to witness.

Check out the video of Nelly Jacobs below!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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By Jenny Brown
hi@sbly.com
Jenny Brown is a senior writer at Shareably. She is based in San Francisco and can be reached at hi@shareably.net.
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