100-year-old from Horsham celebrates birthday with a horse ride

Skylark House resident, 100-year-old Audrey Merry from Horsham had her wish come true to go horse riding again as she did when she was a young girl, with members of the South Downs Riding for the Disabled Association and Toffee the horse. 'Photo credit: Simon Jacobs SUS-181119-164422001
Skylark House resident, 100-year-old Audrey Merry from Horsham had her wish come true to go horse riding again as she did when she was a young girl, with members of the South Downs Riding for the Disabled Association and Toffee the horse. 'Photo credit: Simon Jacobs SUS-181119-164422001

Audrey Merry from Horsham proved you’re never too old to horse around when she got back in the saddle to celebrate her 100th birthday.

The Skylark House care home resident had her ‘dream come true’ when she was surprised with a trip to the stables at the Horsham and Mid Sussex Equestrian Academy.

The lesson had been arranged following a wish Audrey made on the care home’s Wishing Tree to ‘ride a horse again for the first time in 60 years’.

She was joined by friends and family, including her daughter who now lives in Canada, as she took the reins for the birthday celebration.

Devendra Lallchand, home manager at Skylark House, said: “We always like to make an occasion of birthdays, and Audrey’s 100th birthday is no exception.

“She has had a lifelong passion for sports which she continues to pursue. She’s always first in line to take part in the activities the team provides for residents.

“When we discovered Audrey wished to go horse riding again, we worked with her family to make her wish come true and ensure it was a birthday to remember. It was wonderful to see Audrey back in the saddle, she was an incredible confident rider and happily chatted as she rode around the paddock.

“We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone at the Horsham and Mid Sussex Equestrian Academy for helping make Audrey’s birthday extra special.”

Audrey Merry was born on October 10, 1918. During her childhood, Audrey lived in Walton-on-Thames and took part in many sporting activities, including horse riding, swimming and rowing.

She also used to spend her time helping out in her mother’s dress shop.

During the war, Audrey spent five years working for the fire service in Littlehampton. She met her husband, Fred, and they were married in 1946. They had three children together, Jenny, Rod, and Mark.

Audrey enjoys spending her time socialising with her family and friends at Skylark House, and keeping fit by going for long walks in the garden. She particularly enjoys walking along the riverside near the home to admire the nature and wildlife.

Revealing the secret to living to 100, Audrey said: “The key to living a long, happy life is keeping fit with interesting activities.

“I’ve loved to exercise for as long as I can remember. As a child I even used to row across the Thames to get to school - I took one oar and my twin sister took the other, while our older sister was coxen.

“We became so good at rowing we were invited to join the school team. Horse riding with my twin sister was another passion of mine – I had no fear when it came to sports, and I’ll try anything!”

Audrey moved into Skylark House in June 2018 which provides full-time residential, nursing and dementia care, as well as short-term respite and palliative care.

For more information, visit www.careuk.com/skylark-house