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Resident at The Lantern of Lenoir City has long history showing horses

photo of Jean Fowler with horse

Jean Fowler has been riding horses almost since she was born.

Now a resident at The Lantern Alzheimer’s Center of Excellence in Lenoir City, Fowler has never lost her love of horses… or other quadrupeds.

Throughout her life, Fowler has owned an estimated 50-60 Tennessee Walking Horses, sometimes up to 16 at one time. She bred them, raised them, rode them and showed them.

Her first horse, the one she learned to ride on, was named Blue. And as she grew, she started competing in horse shows.

Fowler even rode a mule to the bus stop when it was time for school.

“My granddad would throw me onto a mule and say, ‘Go!’” Fowler shared. “That’s the gospel truth!”

photo of Jean and one of her horses
Jean and one of her horses

Naturally, Fowler married a man who also loved animals, Joe Fowler. He had even attended in the very first Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in 1939. As an adult, he showed horses as his wife did and was undefeated in showing when he retired.

The Fowler family kept a variety of creatures, from chickens to dogs (including a Doberman Pinscher who would ride horseback) to myotonic (or fainting) goats.

“She loves any animals,” said one of Fowler’s three daughters, Nancy Evans.

Yet horses have always had the top place in Fowler’s heart, as far as animals go.

“If you treat them nice, they’ll do just about anything you want them to do,” Fowler said. “But you’ve got to take good care of them.”

In Fowler’s younger days, she showed horses not just throughout Tennessee but also throughout the South, including the Carolinas and Kentucky, and she won many trophies over the years. Even after not showing for several years, she decided to mount up again last year at 91 and won her first show back in the ring in her home town of Cornersville, Tennessee.

“My favorite thing to do is win,” she said with a laugh.

photo of Jean with ribbon
Jean loves to win!

“She is a very disciplined rider,” said Evans. “She sits very erect in the saddle, the old-fashioned way.”

Fowler’s advice to those taking up riding is: “Don’t just get on there and say, ‘I’m gonna ride.’ Start out slow. If you start out fast, you could go end over end.”

Even experienced riders sometimes fall off. It has happened to Fowler many times over the years, most recently last year. Yes, she was still riding at 91!

Fowler’s family of three girls has now grown to include five grandkids and 16 great-grandchildren. Most of her descendants ride, with several of them also showing horses.

photo of Jean with family members
Jean with family members

“It’s a family thing,” said Evans. “It’s sort of like an addiction.”

Fowler still has her beloved world champion horse named Boston Bay, and she loves to visit with the majestic creatures whenever she can. She recently took a trip to Shangri-La Therapeutic Academy of Riding and got to pet and interact with the horses there.

“I had a lot of fun,” Fowler said. “I like to get out and pet the animals.”

photo of Jean with horse at Shangri-La Therapeutic Academy of Riding
Jean with horse at Shangri-La Therapeutic Academy of Riding

Associates at The Lantern plan to take her back soon for another trip to the barn.

The Lantern Alzheimer’s Center of Excellence is located at 155 Morning Pointe Drive. For more information about the facility, please call 865-271-9966.

Morning Pointe is the region’s choice for assisted living and memory care, serving seniors across Tennessee for 25 years. In addition to the Lenoir City assisted living and Alzheimer’s memory care campus in East Tennessee, Morning Pointe operates assisted living and memory care communities in Knoxville, Clinton, Greeneville and Powell.

Founded in 1997 by Tennessee healthcare entrepreneurs Greg A. Vital and Franklin Farrow, Morning Pointe Senior Living owns and operates 37 assisted living, personal care and Alzheimer’s memory care communities in five southeastern states and is celebrating its silver anniversary throughout 2022.

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