We had the good fortune of connecting with Tess Olnick and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tess, what are you inspired by?
The field I work in is incredibly unique and inspiring. Working with horses as a form of therapy is so unlike any typical clinic-like therapy setting, and brings out reactions in people that you might not see anywhere else. Horses seem to put people in a state of awe from simply just being around them, being such beautiful, big, powerful animals. When you put that together with a therapy service, the results are amazing to watch. When you see a rider who’s nonverbal say their first words, or someone who uses a wheelchair take their first steps, it’s beyond inspiring, and shows you how this unique therapy truly works.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I think working in the industry I work in, in itself, sets me apart from others. It’s definitely a unique industry, which is one of the things I love about it. I actually started at Ride On as a volunteer when I was 14 years old, and the horses, riders and people who work here are what hooked me in and have kept me here all this time. In that way, it was easy in a sense to keep at it. I absolutely love what Ride On does, and working in its setting has been addicting for me in the best way possible. At the same time, it has taken a lot of hard work and dedication as the job itself can be physically and emotionally demanding at times, and you do end up putting your whole heart and soul into it. Being a nonprofit, there’s also a lot that goes on behind the scenes to keep up with fundraising, outreach etc. in order to make sure there’s continued success and we’re able to continue serving people in the community. I will say however, the rewards that come with it far outweigh the challenges that come your way.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The number one thing I can think of would definitely be Rancho Potrero Community Equestrian Center in Thousand Oaks, CA. It’s an equestrian center that Ride On manages, and they offer trail rides to the public amidst the beautiful scenery of the Santa Monica Mountains. I would argue that it’s one of the most scenic rides you could do in Southern California, and you even get some stunning views of the ocean and Channel Islands. They offer hour-long guided rides for people 7 years and up, with some Covid-19 safety guidelines in place. I would highly highly recommend it! Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I attribute where I’m at today to the support, encouragement and inspiration of my coworkers here at Ride On, 100%!
Facebook: Ride On Therapeutic Horsemanship
Tess Michelle Photography