(805) 523-1244

(818) 776-6476

Program Director- Connie Gilly

I joined SERT in 1988 and have been Program Director since 2000.  I oversee instructors, a group of dedicated volunteers and a herd of horses trained to help riders with special needs. It’s a way of life for me – a mission of love.

 When our daughter Vickie was born, we knew she had Down syndrome. In 1980, Vickie attended an all-inclusion summer school with various activities. Friday was horseback riding. All I would hear from Vickie was the name of the horse she rode: ‘Mocha! Mocha! Mocha!’  Mocha joined our family that same year. He made a difference in Vickie’s life. I could see her confidence and self-esteem grow.

Because I’m the mother of a person with special needs, I can understand what it means when a mom or a dad is watching us put their child on a horse. I can see their anxiety, I can see their anxiousness. I convey to them that everything’s going to be okay. I know how important it is to make things completely individualized and make each lesson one-to-one. Even though we may have other riders up at the same time, every rider has his or her own instructor and assistants that help. And that’s the way it will always be here.


Hi, my name is Nancy Seidman. I have been involved with therapeutic riding for 24 yrs and have been a registered instructor for 17 years. I have seen changes, both physical and cognitive, in riders with special needs. Horseback riding gives them a freedom and connection with a horse they never had before. It's a wonderful feeling to see this.

Hi, I'm Sharie, a SERT volunteer since 2000. I became a registered instructor in 2005. I love seeing the chidren learn to ride, the smiles on their faces, their sense of accompishment and the bonding with the horses and the staff.