Wish Stories

Quean Lives Out Her Wild West Dreams with a Horse-Drawn Adventure

What is it about Westerns that makes people love them so much?

Perhaps it’s the film genre’s depictions of life in the Wild West frontier— the gorgeous but harsh desert landscapes, big skies, and the fine line between civilization and the wild. Or maybe it’s the characters— the misunderstood heroes and nefarious villains. And you can’t forget about the gripping chase scenes with fearless cowboys and horse-drawn wagons.

If you ask Quean, age 72, why she likes Westerns, she’d name all those things and probably a few more! But the dedicated John Wayne fan has one unique reason why these films are so close to her heart.

Growing up, Quean did not have the opportunity to learn much about her extended family. It has been a personal challenge for her, and she’s always yearned to know more.

But there was one detail she discovered about her grandmother that she’s clung to for as long as she can remember. Quean’s grandmother’s life involved covered and horse-drawn wagons; she used them, worked on them, and relied on them throughout her life.

Watching Westerns and films about life on the frontier sparks Quean’s imagination and makes her feel connected to her grandmother in a small way. She has always wanted to experience a ride on a horse-drawn carriage or covered wagon to feel a small part of what her grandmother’s life might have been like.

“I’d be the happiest person in this world,” she said. “One of my dreams would come true…I wouldn’t want for nothing else.”

Wish recipient Quean and family peting horses at Access Adventure
Wish recipient Quean kisses a Stonewall Sportshorse
Quean joyfully snuggling up to a Stonewall Sportshorse at Access Adventure

Quean’s friends and fellow residents in her assisted living facility would quickly tell you how she spreads happiness in their community with her vibrant personality and quick wit. Her way of giving back to others is to be a good listener and treat those around her with kindness and compassion. Quean is known for always going the extra mile to help during group outings and activities.

Quean’s bright light shines within her, even though she had a challenging childhood. She worked hard her whole life and faced tremendous loss in her family as an adult. When Quean’s son met hardships growing up, Quean advocated for him and made sure he knew that he was capable, loved, and empowered. She continues living her life with a beautiful affinity for others and genuine kindness towards everyone around her.

When Wish of a Lifetime heard Quean’s story, we were honored to have the opportunity to help her fulfill a lifelong dream. We teamed up with Marquis Shasta, Vital Life Foundation, and Access Adventure to create a memorable, once-in-a-lifetime Western adventure for Quean.

Quean and her family riding on a horse drawn wagon
Group photo of Quean and smiling family during her wish

Quean’s wish came true at Access Adventure, nestled into over 2,000 acres of open countryside on the historic Rush Ranch in the San Francisco Bay area. Known for “harnessing hope and healing,” Access Adventure provides therapy, education, and outdoor recreation for their guests through unique horse-drawn vehicle rides.

For years, Quean had dreamed of what it would feel like to travel on a horse-drawn vehicle, just like her ancestors would have. And in May of 2022, she finally found out!

Since family has always meant so much to Quean, her Wild West adventure was made even more special with the presence of her companions: her sister Gloria, brother-in-law Terry, and niece, Lisa.

First, the excited group got to meet the stars of the show: the Stonewall Sporthorses! These champion horses are known for their colorful coat patterns, soundness, trainability, courage, and stamina.

Even though they are larger in size than the average horse, they are sensitive to the unique needs of the people who visit Access Adventure for therapeutic driving experiences. That was certainly the case on this day, and the affectionate horses gave the group their undivided attention.

Quean fell in love with the horses, enjoying the chance to be close and pet them before embarking on her memorable ride.

And finally, they were off! Quean and her family rode a horse-drawn wagon across the majestic western landscape before them. It was pretty enough to be the backdrop for a movie.

With her hands on the reigns, Quean began crying tears of joy. It was everything she had imagined and more.

Quean with reigns in hand driving the horse drawn wagon across landscape

One incredible story at a time, Wish of a Lifetime is changing the perception of aging—not just how we view our oldest citizens but also how we see and value ourselves as we age.

Do you have a wish you want to realize? We want to hear your story!

Become a wish Nominator and submit an application for a deserving senior in your community.

Learn more about how wishes connect seniors to people, purpose, and passions to eliminate feelings of isolation and help them live vibrant, purposeful lives.

All wish activities are conducted in accordance with CDC, state and local health regulations and may be subject to increased COVID-19 preventative precautions as outlined in WOL's COVID-19 Policy.

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