Hospice-bound woman gets final ride on Hillsboro horse
Thanks to a local hospice organization, a 92-year-old Washington County woman got one last chance to do what she loved last week.
Lucia Martinez-Osorio grew up riding horses. On her parents' ranch in Colombia, she spent her childhood caring for and riding the animals. As a girl, she and her father would ride together, and she would sometimes sneak out of the house in the night just to ride her horse.
Now 92 and receiving hospice care, Martinez-Osorio told her nurse she wanted to ride a horse one last time.
Martinez-Osorio is a patient at the Portland location of Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care, one of the nation's largest hospice providers. The company operates in 19 states. Her nurse, Lucy Foust, happened to stable a horse in Hillsboro and arranged a visit with Foust's horse, Chiron, on July 16 at Santa Crux Equestrian Center, 29580 S.W. Farmington Road, south of Hillsboro.
Horses have played an important part in Martinez-Osorio's life, said April Dovorany, a spokeswoman with Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care. The time she spent with her father in the saddle were some of her fondest memories and Martinez-Osorio's husband, Arturo, gave her a chestnut gelding as a wedding present.
She and her husband immigrated in 1999, to be closer to her daughter in Beaverton. Arturo died in 2002.
Foust, a certified nursing assistant with Seasons, has worked for the company for about a year, caring for Martinez-Osorio at Berta's Beaverton home. Foust became a hospice nurse after caring for her own mother.
"Nobody should die alone," Foust said. "And they should always feel loved."
Foust, her husband and Martinez-Osorio's daughter Berta were on hand to help Martinez-Osorio into the saddle. Martinez-Osorio's daughter took video to show her family in Colombia, Foust said.
"She didn't want to get off," Foust said. "She rode for about four hours. She took a couple of breaks, but every time, she was right back in the saddle again."
Foust said she knows of a few other special requests her hospice team has helped come true, such as tickets to baseball games, but noted Martinez-Osorio's request was unusual.
"Our office doesn't have the means to have access to large animals like this," she said. "I'm glad I was available to make it happen."
Foust's 19-year-old Appaloosa mix was the perfect animal for Martinez-Osorio's experience, Foust said.
"There's so much unconditional love and trust there," she said. "They are the gentlest creatures, especially for their size. My horse and I have been through a lot. When my own mom passed away, she worked with me and helped with my grieving. It's nice to pass that love on to somebody else who would really enjoy it."
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