Patrick Swayze and Lisa Niemi: 'The Time of My Life'

You know, we were in New Mexico a couple of years after Patrick had broken both his legs in a life-threatening horse accident while filming Letters from a Killer. We walked out into the fresh mountain air, and he had taken off his shirt to enjoy the sun as we strolled into our beautiful fifty-acre pasture to visit with our five spirited Arabian horses. Patrick was rubbing one of the horses on her neck and I had walked off a ways for some reason or another. And I turned around just in time to see him grab a handful of mane and swing himself up on the mare's back. No saddle, no bridle, nothing.

She and the other horses started to trot off together and then, in a tight group, they launched into a full gallop, Patrick riding bareback in the middle of them through the open field. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't help but see how fantastic and free he looked. And I couldn't help but be pissed off. I mean, he'd just broken his legs a year or so earlier in that horse accident and he was going to risk doing it again?

The horses had their joyride and slowed to an easy trot, and Patrick hopped off blithely, unscathed. As he walked over to me he smiled a little sheepishly, waiting to see if I was going to admonish him. But I couldn't. I could only shake my head and try my best not to smile. This is the man who's taken on cancer. As always, he's on the ride of his life. And I know that he's going to ride this horse as far as it'll go.

Lisa Niemi July 2009

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