Susan Lozano has been giving riding lessons to people with disabilities since she opened Fairhunt Farm in Scottsville in 2000.
In 2003 her daughter, Rebekah, got into a car accident causing her to have a traumatic brain injury and leaving her partially paralyzed. "I had to relearn how to walk, stand up, and do everything," Rebekah said.
That didn't keep her from wanting to ride again though. "That was something I dreamed of doing again. It was a dream that seemed so distant," Rebekah said.
That's when horseback riding as therapy really hit home for Susan. After years of work, Rebekah - who won numerous ribbons for her horseback riding skills as a child - was finally able to get back on and ride.
Rebekah says it took three people to get her on the horse the first time, but she says she was still able to relive her passion once again. "I got on and I got to have a pony ride and that just lit up my world," she said.
So last year Susan started a nonprofit to help other children with physical and mental disabilities. "Many people with many facets of disabilities come here and enjoy being on a horse," she said.
Some of Susan's clients include people who are mentally retarded, autistic, have cerebral palsy, and muscular dystrophy. She also serves people who have no disabilities, and she says that regardless of who her clients are, each gets something unique out of the experience.
"Riding, first of all, teaches you responsibility. Even the simplest thing - if you're brushing the horse's hair, it teaches responsibility," Susan said.
Susan adds that the benefits of riding don't stop there. Balance, athleticism, building a relationship with the horse, and growing confidence are some of the things she says her students can gain.
Now she is hoping to raise money for a scholarship fund to support those who want to ride at her farm for therapy. The scholarships will go to current riders and those who are interested in starting for the first time.
It costs $35 for a half hour riding lesson, $40 for a carriage riding lesson, and $45 for an hour long lesson. But Susan said for her, it's not about the money. She says she just wants to make sure that anyone who wants to ride can have that opportunity, and she's proud her daughter has come so far.
"Getting her back to doing what she does well - she's an asset here in the community and an inspiration to other people," Susan said about her daughter Rebekah.
Rebekah is happy to share that inspiration with others. "You can do whatever you want, if you put your mind to it, she said.
A garage sale for the scholarship fund is taking place this Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Fairhunt Farm in Scottsville.
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