Being part of our Supported Living program means more than just going through the motions of a daily routine. For people like Jennifer Szedny, support from Jay Nolan staff means having the support to do the things she loves.

Jennifer (who goes by “Jennie”) is a very active and busy lady despite her fifty years of age: she enjoys arts and crafts, puzzles, attending painting classes, walking at the park, and going to the YMCA. Moreover, she is a season pass holder at Disneyland and goes there several times a month. Jennie has also been working at her local Marshall’s for 15 years! Always energetic and friendly, she has received many awards for her years of service and dedication to her job.

However Jennie’s real passion is horses. One of Jennie’s staff, Veronica Bravo who was been supporting her for 16 years, discovered that Jennie had a love for horse when they vacationed with her sister one year. One of the many adventures they participated in was horseback riding which Jennie loved and was sort of a natural at. Another time Veronica and Jennie went to visit Veronica’s nieces and nephews ride horses at Griffith Park, Jennie enjoyed watching them ride and asked Veronica, “Ride the horses?” but unfortunately those were for children to ride on.

After sharing this with the circle at one of the monthly circle meetings, the staff learned how Jennie used to attend a horseback riding program out in Santa Clarita. However, the stable burned down and never re-opened. The circle brainstormed how to give Jennie the opportunity to ride again and CSS Brenda mentioned that she knew of someone else that participate in therapeutic horseback riding with Ride-On in Chatsworth. She looked to see if they were accepting new riders and fortunately the Newberry Park Ride-On had availability during the weekends. Perfect! This worked best for Jennie’s schedule considering she drove an hour (and sometimes more) to get to her lessons on Saturday mornings.

Jennie has now been riding for a little over a year and she loves it! She has participated in a fun event Ride-On had where they painted shoe horses and had a barbecue for their riders. Jennie was super happy because they made her favorite food: burgers and coke. Jennie first started out with doing solo riding but then joined the group sessions which have been going really well for her. They have many volunteers at Ride-On that assist the riders with special needs to remain safe while on horse. Jennie practices guiding the horse on her own through cones and enjoys when they go for long rides around the park. When the weather does not permit riding they have riders feed, groom and help to clean the stables.

Jennie will sometimes ask Veronica, “Ride?” because that is what she would rather be doing. Jennie is very confident and happy when horseback riding! The circle is thrilled that she was able to find a class that suited her schedule and that staff are taking the time to support her in this wonderful activity that she looks forward to!

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