Ontario woman turns tragedy into Paralympic glory
Published Saturday, December 10, 2011 10:22PM EST
When an Ontario woman was severely injured in a car crash, she returned to horseback riding as a means to recover from the traumatizing ordeal.
Now Jody Schloss has advanced her passion to the equestrian world's biggest stage as a member of Canada's Paralympic equestrian team.
"I have been riding since I was 11. It's in my blood," Schloss told CTV News through an electronic speech-generating device.
The sport took on new meaning for Schloss when she lost the ability to walk in a car crash that left her in a three-month long coma and killed her best friend.
"Now it's a feeling of freedom of being able to go out on a nice day and enjoy being with my best friends, my horses," she said.
Schloss, who trains with her horses nearly every day, spent the summer competing in Europe preparing for her spot on Canada's lauded Paralympics equestrian team.
"Determination, really, is one of her biggest and best qualities," said Schloss' coach Jessica Rhinelander. "She always wants to go out there (and) do her best all the time."
Shortly after returning home, Schloss decided to ramp up her training by moving closer to her beloved horse stables. It didn't take long for Schloss to find an unlikely landlord willing to help her out.
The 38-year-old Paralympian moved into a retirement home where she now spends her free time with a set of new friends that are more than twice her age.
"She certainly doesn't fit the profile of our normal resident," said retirement home manager Don Henderson.
Over time, Schloss has been able to bridge the generation gap and give back to the seniors home in her own special way.
"She has such a spirit and she's so brave and so courageous," said resident Lisa Otten. "I sometimes feel we all need something of that."
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Daniele Hamamdjian