‘Riding keeps you young!’ Great-grandmother marks 100th birthday with first ride in 90 years

  • A great-grandmother who had not ridden for nearly 90 years celebrated her 100th birthday by getting back in the saddle.

    Millis Thompson “grew up on a horse”, riding to school in Canada, but as she got older, she stopped riding. But her great-granddaughter Amelie Moir, who has her own horse, said Millis had always wanted to get back in the saddle, so she came up with the idea of a birthday lesson at the Brae Riding for the Disabled centre in Dundee on 14 March.

    Amelie rode Highland Harris alongside her great-grandmother on coloured Django, of whom she was given a picture after her ride.

    Amelie’s grandfather David Seymour told H&H the event as not a surprise for Millis.

    “She said the thing that worried her wasn’t getting on a horse for the first time in nearly 90 years, it was putting her make-up on!” he said.

    “They were fantastic at the centre. We always said it’s not the getting on the horse that’s the problem, it’s the getting off! But they helped her on and you could see from the look on her face [she enjoyed it] and she wasn’t the slightest bit fazed; it was amazing.”

    Millis was interviewed by local television and newspapers, telling STV news it was hard to adjust to the saddle as she had always ridden bareback.

    “It was great to be on a horse again,” she said, adding that she had kept her horse in a field next to her school when she was in lessons as a child, and would go out to see him during her breaks.

    David said he was unsure whether Millis wanted to keep the riding up, adding: “How could you better that!”

    “She’s fantastic, an extraordinary woman,” he said. “It’s the riding, you know — it keeps you young!”

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