FAIRBORN — Rex Musick recently crossed one last item off his bucket list.
Musick was diagnosed with cancer and is terminally ill, but fulfilled his wish to ride a horse one last time. He rode a horse bareback July 19 through the side yard at Wright Rehabilitation and Nursing.
“I never thought I would ride a horse again,” Musick said. “I gave up on the idea because the cancer got bad into my hip, but we got the approval from all those above (at Wright Rehabilitation and Nursing) and they were kind enough to [help me cross this item off my] bucket list.”
Musick grew up in Corbin, Kentucky and said his sister, Mallie Marshall, had him on the back of a horse riding at just 3-years-old.
“I’ve been a cowboy since that time forward,” he said.
However, it had been at least 18 to 20 years since he last rode. He said he moved to the city and held down labor-intensive jobs, taking him away from the farm as well as the animals and horses he enjoyed caring for. His sister was by his side when he took his ride, as well as his girlfriend Amy Townley, friends and staff members from Wright Rehabilitation and Nursing and friends from his church congregation.
“I’ve been ecstatic,” Musick said. “Everyday this week I’ve been saying ‘tomorrow we will ride’ because I’ve been anxious for it to happen. I’m very excited.”
Adorned with a cowboy hat, Marshall pushed Musick in his wheelchair outdoors into the July heat to await the arrival of the horse, while Townley stood by his side. When the horse finally made it to the destination, he asked to get closer to the animal, where he pet its face and offered some loving words.
“When they arrive to our [nursing facility], we usually ask if they could do anything, what would it be? We are resourceful and do what we need to do,” Wright Rehabilitation and Nursing Activities Director Justine Burns said. “It’s wonderful to see all the family and friends come out.”
“If tomorrow doesn’t come, we have today,” she added.
According to Burns, the horse, named Buckwheat, belongs to Jimmy and Linda Williams of Springfield. Burns said she has known the Williams family for some time; Linda has taught line dancing at the Fairborn Senior Center for the last 20 years.
With the help of a wheelchair lift, Musick was atop of the horse. He directed the animal forward and into the grass while those who came out to see the event cheered, cried and took photos.
“It brought back wonderful memories,” Musick said upon the conclusion of his ride. “It was like I never got off. I’m thrilled to be able to get on and hold on and my hip not cause too much pain. It was wonderful.”
“We are truly blessed by God. He makes so many wonderful things happen,” Townley said. “We owe it all to him and all the helpers [at Wright Rehabilitation and Nursing.] It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen and I’m so happy he was able to do it — it was amazing for him. We can cross this item off the list now. We are truly blessed to have had the opportunity.”
Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.