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81-year-old Waterloo, Ont. woman with paralysis, amputated leg lives out dream of riding horse again


An 81-year-old Waterloo, Ont. woman thought she’d never ride a horse again after a brain bleed led to severe physical complications.

Carole Coulson dedicated much of her younger years to therapy farms, providing children with disabilities the chance to ride a horse.

“I can’t actually remember my mom without thinking of her love for horses,” said Ronna Weatherly, Coulson’s daughter. “She always felt like she wanted to help change people’s lives with horses.”

Ronna Weatherly holds up an old picture of her mother, Carole Coulson, with a horse. (Spencer Turcotte/CTV News)

But nearly eight years ago, it was Coulson’s life that would change drastically.

“She suffered a massive stroke and it took her ability to speak and to use her right side properly and her body was broken,” said Weatherly, through tears.

Coulson ran into further complications, which led to the amputation of her right leg.

She never thought she would be back on a horse. She shook her head “no” when CTV News asked her during an interview.

But that all changed on Wednesday when a charity called We Are Young heard about Coulson’s wish to get back in the saddle

“What’s so exciting about this wish today is that we are granting the very first wish of an Ontario senior where their wish is happening in Ontario,” said charity co-founder Katie Mahoney.

On behalf of a senior over 70 years old, a loved one living in Ontario or Atlantic Canada can submit an application for an experience-based wish.

“We’ve been able to connect with Pride Stables who are celebrating their 50th anniversary. It’s also a charity and does amazing work for so many people,” said Mahoney.

So with help from We Are Young and Pride Stables, a riding program in Kitchener, Ont. for people with disabilities, Coulson was helped out of her wheelchair and onto a horse.

As she trotted around, supported by staff members on either side, the smile never left her face.

It was a full-circle moment considering the stable helping make all this possible resembled much of the work Coulson did when she was younger.

Her daughter couldn’t help the swell of emotions as she watched her mother’s dream come to life.

“Hi mom, you’re incredible,” she shouted.

There were a bit of nerves beforehand, but Coulson showed her courage and saddled up anyway.

“It’s such an encouragement that you don’t have to stop dreaming and you don’t have to stop praying,” said Weatherly.

While much in Coulson’s life has changed, one thing has not – there’s no place she’d rather be than on the back of a horse. Top Stories

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