Hospice Patient Gets One Last Day at the Barn

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If you knew your time on earth was nearing its end, where would you want to spend your days? For most horse lovers, the answer is clear: at the barn. Phyllis Ryerson is no exception.

Ryerson, now 87, lived on a farm with her husband earlier in her life. She’s loved horses ever since she was young. Fox 17 in West Michigan reports that she has been diagnosed with stage four esophageal cancer, and she’s making the most of her days with help from Emmanuel Hospice.

When Ryerson told hospice workers that she wanted to pet a horse, they brought her to Equine Assisted Development of the Great Lakes where she had the chance to pet and groom the horses in the barn and feed them treats.

Phyllis Ryerson
Screenshot via Fox 17

A true horsewoman, Ryerson rubbed a horse named George with her coat so that she could bring home the smell of horses with her, according to a Facebook post from EADGL. In another post, Emmanuel Hospice says she joked that she’d be bringing the barn smell home, and that her husband wouldn’t like it. For horse lovers, some things never change.

Ryerson reportedly smiled throughout her afternoon with the horses and kept a positive mindset, telling Fox 17, “It’s a very comforting thing to know that I’m at the end of a long and wonderful life.”


Leslie Potter is a writer and photographer based in Lexington, Kentucky. www.lesliepotterphoto.com

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Leslie Potter
Leslie Potter is a graduate of William Woods University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Equestrian Science with a concentration in saddle seat riding and a minor in Journalism/Mass Communications. She is currently a writer and photographer in Lexington, KY.Potter worked as a barn manager and riding instructor and was a freelance reporter and photographer for the Horsemen's Yankee Pedlar and Saddle Horse Report before moving to Lexington to join Horse Illustrated as Web Editor from 2008 to 2019. Her current equestrian pursuits include being a grown-up lesson kid at an eventing barn and trail riding with her senior Morgan gelding, Snoopy.

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