Bill and Betty Grant
The day was March 19,1999. Bill Grant and his wife Betty were in Fairfield, Idaho to provide support as their friends grieved the loss of their beloved horse. On that Sunday morning Betty had decided to go skiing at Soldier Mountain while Bill returned to their home in Hailey to catch up on some work. Later that day, Bill made a fateful decision to ski Bald Mountain as Betty and her friend drove to Bellevue to look at horses at a ranch called Swiftsure. Hours later, Betty received an urgent call that Bill had been found unconscious and bleeding on the Limelight run on Baldy, a run they seldom skied. No one had witnessed the impact. Bill was only 66 years of age and due to the extent of his injuries he was not expected to live through the night. In May, Bill transferred to the Elks rehab center in Boise where he remained until July. He was then ordered to a nursing home, however Betty brought Bill home and has been his primary caregiver for the past 14 years. Due to the left frontal lobe injury Bill never regained use of his speech. He was blinded in his right eye.
At the age of 80, Bill is the senior (Betty jokingly refers to him as the “most experienced”) rider at Sagebrush Arena and has used the facility on and off for 12 years. For the past two years, Bill has ridden every week. According to Betty, there is a difference in his mood after each session. She says,
“Riding has given him a sense of achievement, helps him with his balance and gives him more self confidence. The physical tasks and movements Bill is not able to preform, he is able to do mentally thus stimulating his brain.”
Betty Grant never dreamed that she would one day return to the ranch she visited on the life altering day of Bill’s accident fourteen years earlier. On June 19, Betty Grant returned to Swiftsure Ranch for a far different reason: This time to deliver Bill to the weekly riding sessions he enjoys so much, an outing they both look forward to.
“It is good for both of us knowing that he has outside exposure in a world of other people who understand his needs. They are very giving people.”
~ Betty Grant