Jonathan is a quiet young man who has grown up being treated as an equal to his twin brother, Joseph. In many ways Jonathan and Joseph are similar. They both share a passion for sports, a loving family, and a drive to be all they can be. But one of their differences brought Jonathan to Forward Stride. Jonathan has Down Syndrome. It is through Jonathan’s love of sports and the outdoors, that he was led to Forward Stride. Coming to here as a volunteer solidified his love for all things related to horses. After Jonathan was awarded an educational scholarship through his bowling association, his parents approached Forward Stride with the desire to create a vocational program that could lead him to a job in the equine industry.

Jonathan is learning to bring horses in from the pasture, groom them, and tack them in preparation for his riding lesson. He has his own grooming tools labeled with numbers 1-5, enabling him to follow the order of grooming and develop independence in the process. He has also developed his riding skills, learning to ride in a circle at a walk, change directions, and stop his horse without side walkers or a leader.

Jonathan’s family has seen significant changes in him in the short time that he has been riding and volunteering at Forward Stride. His mother sees a change in Jonathan’s level of independence and problem-solving skills. Jonathan has gained a sense of achievement and fulfillment. His smile alone is a confirmation of the success he feels. Jonathan and his family are thankful to all at Forward Stride — from the volunteers he works with to the staff members who have provided him with a place to grow. Forward Stride is making a powerful difference in the lives of Jonathan and his family. And Jonathan is thriving through his love of horses!