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Testing the Boundaries – How to Cope with Physical and Mental Challenges Every Day

Written by Liz Moore, Communications Partner with integratedliving

An expert horseman, cattleman, dog trainer, farrier and saddler, there’s not much Henry can’t do on the land. Though he’s had to learn how to do it differently lately. 


Henry left school at 14 to become a ringer in the top end, and he hasn’t stopped learning since. But it’s been in the last decade that he’s had to teach himself new ways to do what had become second nature. Henry’s diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease seven years ago has impacted much of his daily life. He wants people to know, you can keep going. 

“I went to a fairly dark place for two years,” Henry said. “When you get the first diagnosis, you go to rock bottom. The next rock bottom is they tell you there’s no cure. That’s real, real hard. That’s a big whack in the guts, that is. More silence. More dark places. 

“I didn’t want to talk to my family.” Henry said. “I didn’t listen. They’d speak to me and the words would just go over my head. They wouldn’t go in.  

“Then slowly you crawl out. I sort of got going a little with the help of my wife and family,” Henry said about wife of 55 years, Colleen, and his son and daughter and their families now including five grandchildren and two great grandchildren. All live in remote areas of Queensland.  

“They just encouraged me a little more and a little more,” Henry said. “I reluctantly sold my horses and kept my favourite one right to last, but then she got too good, it got that bad,” he said of his beloved horse Lucey and his declining health. 

“So I sold her and I was on foot and that wasn’t great. But along came integratedliving with their scooter,” Henry said of the motorised scooter he was able to purchase as part of the Home Care Package he started in 2022. “That helped me immensely. That lifted me so I could get about and do some of my chores on the property.” 

Henry said the journey to acceptance took about two years from first diagnosis, and the satisfaction he felt from being able to do a little more was the slow but crucial first step. “I started to lift mentally. I just got a little better, and a little better. I decided I can do things now, I can push the boundaries, and it’s working mentally for me.” 

As Henry has learnt working with animals all his life, going slow is sometimes the best way forward. 

“I used to be able to shoe about five horses per day, or six,” Henry said. “Then I put one shoe on one horse perhaps per day. Well, per day, perhaps,” Henry said. ‘Per day, perhaps’ has become one of Henry’s favourite sayings as he learns to accept his new limits and lower the expectations he has of himself compared to when he was at the peak of his abilities.  

Henry was telling his son, who is a farrier and a carpenter, that the shaking in his hand had gotten too bad to shoe well. “So he came home with two hammers,” Henry said. “He gave me one, and my great grandson one,” Henry said with a laugh. “So that's the level where I was at with hammering,” comparing himself to his three-year-old grandson. “So we're both starting again with a new hammer, and now it has improved my horseshoeing.

I can happily put a shoe on my horse now, but still one per day, perhaps. And it’s perhaps if the body feels like it.” 

Henry experienced a heart attack earlier this year. Thankfully Colleen got him to the hospital in time and the stent in his heart has worked wonders. “Well, if you're an old mechanic and you had an old tractor, and you have a dirty filter where the fuel's not getting through, you put a new one in, and it's going like new again. 

“That’s what the cardiac doctor’s done,” Henry said. “The difference is amazing. I still don't believe how much better I feel in myself. I've got more energy. I just had no energy at all, didn't want to go anywhere. Well not didn't want to, couldn't.” 

Henry is capitalising on his new lease on life, and the small but noticeable improvements it’s made to each day. “My window's not open very much, and I'm going to take full advantage of this new life. I'm not stopping, I'm going to keep going. And more challenges yet. There's more to come, and I intend to go a little further.” 


To find out more about the challenges Henry is now taking on again – including training a new young horse to be ‘an old man’s horse’ – visit our podcast Pushing the Limits - Learning to Live Again After an Unwanted Diagnosis.


I Traded My Horse for a Motorised Scooter 

‘A Life Saving Substitute’ 

Written by Henry Taylor 

In 2016 I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. It wasn’t easy to accept. 

Since the age of five I had ridden a horse. Then when leaving school at the age of 14 years, I went to work as a stockman at Carpentaria Downs near Einasleigh, in north Queensland. I wore many titles such as Saddler, Farrier, Head Stockman & Manager of cattle stations.  

For the last 22 years, my wife Colleen and I have been hay-farmers on 30 acres in north Queensland. We’re still breeding a few Droughtmaster cattle. Our home is adorned with family photos of three generations of family competing at Campdrafts and Australian Stock Horse Futurities. Until a few years ago, I was breaking in, training and shoeing all our stock horses. 

Slowly over time, Parkinson’s bore its way into my body, reducing my ability to walk and respond quickly. Due to safety, I had to give my life away. Reluctantly and sadly, I sold my favourite home-bred stock horse, Lucey. I was miserable, as I was not able to attend to my daily routine of 70 years. My legs would not carry me any further than 50 metres. 

A new me:  I am extremely grateful to integratedliving, where my Parkinson’s Level 3 Package has enabled me to purchase a ‘Golden Motorised Scooter’. Now with these wheels under me, I can once again attend to most daily chores. With the hook-up of a trailer, garden maintenance, weed spraying, and with the help of a long-handled tong, I can pick up fallen mangoes and sticks. 

My scooter’s name is Crystal after one of my favourite stock horses. 

These wheels under me now, have sustained me physically and mentally. 

Find out more about Home Care Packages