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Hempfield woman gets her final wish – one last horse ride |

Hempfield woman gets her final wish – one last horse ride

Mary Pickels
| Wednesday, June 17, 2015 11:39 p.m
Alexandria Polanosky | Trib Total Media
Patricia Glasser, 84, of Hempfield rides Gunner at Bogley Performance Horses stables in Wyano on Wednesday, June 17, 2015. Her wish to ride a horse one more time was granted, thanks to the Westmoreland County chapter of the national nonprofit Twilight Wish Foundation.
Alexandria Polanosky | Trib Total Media
Patricia Glasser, 84, of Hempfield thanks Gunner at the Bogley Performance Horses stables in Wyano for helping to fulfill her wish to ride a horse one last time on Wednesday, June 17, 2015.
Evan Sanders | Trib Total Media
Cherie Bogley (left), owner of Bogley Performance Horses in Wyano, congratulates Patricia Glasser, 84, of Hempfield on her successful a ride at the indoor arena Wednesday, June 17, 2015. Glasser had her wish fulfilled to ride a horse one more time, thanks to the Westmoreland County chapter of the national nonprofit Twilight Wish Foundation.

As a girl, Patricia Glasser loved nothing more than riding horses.

It was her passion, her devotion, her calling.

So when she met, then married her husband, Harold, who shared her passion, it was only natural that they would spend their days tending to horses on their North Huntingdon farm.

“I showed horses, and I rode horses for pleasure,” she said.

But years later, Glasser, 84, hated to think her her days in the stable were long gone.

Deep down, she hoped for just one more ride, one more time to saddle up and ride off on one of her beloved horses.

And so it was on Wednesday that her wish to climb back in the saddle came true, courtesy of the Twilight Wish Foundation, a national nonprofit that grants wishes to senior citizens.

“It’s almost like Make-A-Wish for senior citizens,” said Jamie Bostard, who coordinates the Westmoreland County chapter.

Glasser, who now lives at Weatherwood Manor, an assisted-living facility in Hempfield, had lunch at the Cracker Barrel in New Stanton with some Weatherwood staff members and Twilight representatives, then headed for Cherie Bogley Performance Horses in South Huntingdon.

Glasser stepped into the stable and walked right up to Gunner, a 15-year-old light brown gelding.

“He’s super gentle, a really nice horse,” Bogley said.

The bond was instant.

Someone handed Glasser a brush.

She held Gunner’s halter in her left hand and gently ran her right hand along his neck and back.

“I started riding at about age 10,” she recalled. She hung out at a nearby stable and often rode horses boarded there to exercise them.

“My grandmother lived on a farm and had a lot of animals, including a horse. Every time we went to see Grandma, I’d go see the horse,” Glasser said.

The Glassers rode until several years ago, when her husband suffered a blood clot and his leg was amputated.

“That stopped our riding,” she said.

Then Harold Glasser died in 2012.

When she mentioned to Weatherwood caregivers that she would love to ride again, marketing director Julie Alakson, a Twilight volunteer, approached her niece. Mikaela Hixson works at the facility and boards a horse with Cherie Bogley.

Gunner was chosen for Glasser because he’s “bomb-proof” — impossible to spook, Hixson said.

“I think we like each other, we really do,” Glasser cooed softly to the horse. “You’re a good boy. I won’t hurt you.”

“I’ve always been good to horses and they’ve always been good to me,” she said. “I was never bitten. I was never kicked. I was never thrown.

“If you treat them gently, they will treat you gently.”

After Bogley arranged Gunner’s saddle, Glasser stepped onto a small stool, slipped her feet into the stirrups and hoisted herself up. Clearly at ease, she picked up the reins and nodded at Bogley, who led her around the indoor arena.

Lifting one hand, Glasser waved at well-wishers gathered behind a viewing window.

At Bogley’s urging, Glasser tapped Gunner with a foot and gave verbal commands: Move. Back. Stop.

Rider and horse circled the arena for several minutes.

After the others helped Glasser to dismount, she gave Gunner a few final pats and thanked everyone for granting her wish.

“That was great. It makes me feel younger,” Glasser said. “I really enjoyed the horse. I really enjoyed the people. I just had a great time.”

Glasser was presented a plaque from Twilight acknowledging that her wish was granted, and Bogley gave her a horseshoe.

Glasser fed Gunner a few carrots. As she left, she looked back once more to wave goodbye.

“Thank you, Gunner,” she said.

Mary Pickels is a staff writer for

Trib Total Media. She can be reached at

724-836-5401 or

Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff reporter. You can contact Mary at 724-836-5401, or via Twitter .

Categories: Westmoreland
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