Jessica Scott is transforming her Hopwood ranch into an equestrian therapy center for people with physical disabilities and emotional needs that can be cured, in part, by horses.
Her personal experiences set her on the path to opening Lone Pine Acres. She has a heart for veterans that began with her grandmother, who served in the Women’s Army Corps. Her work with children with autism as Principal of Marshall Elementary School fueled her desire to expand their therapeutic opportunities locally. And his own struggles with anxiety, combined with an education around horses, taught him their therapeutic effects.
“With all of Fayette County’s emotional needs, there is nowhere people can go to just breathe,” she said.
Scott will work with a therapist and therapeutic riding instructor to fill a void she has witnessed locally. The ranch will be open to guests, including those with muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, trisomy 21, spina bifida, developmental delay, autism, visual and hearing impairments, at-risk youth and elders. wounded and disabled combatants. Services will include Personal Development and Psychotherapy Assisted by Certified Horses (EAGALA) and AHA Hippotherapy, or Adapted Riding.
For people with physical disabilities, horseback riding can build strength, balance and flexibility, she said. For those with mental health and PTSD needs, connecting with horses can lead to healing, she said.
“Horses are unique in therapy because they are prey animals, which means that there are deep parallels between the brain function of horses and that of humans who have suffered trauma and can live in such a condition. alarm, ”Scott wrote in his business plan. “So horses can force us to be in the present moment with them and provide immediate observable and experiential feedback based on interaction with them. “
She envisions Lone Pine Acres as a place where anyone can disconnect from the chaos of modern life and relax in the ground in a hammock, fish in a pond and take care of the horses, even if they are not interested. not to horseback riding.
Scott started the association in January after buying the ranch with her husband. She plans to launch an annual membership program and she has a three-year plan to expand the offerings. Its official opening is scheduled for April 2022, but it will be open before then, she said.
“Hope” will be the main horse in riding lessons, while those who want to be surrounded by horses without riding can look after “Duke”, her docile and older horse. “Oliver”, a 7 month old donkey, is already very attractive to the elderly and children.
“I have older people who say, ‘May I come down and see the donkey? Scott said.
Kelsey Kiel of Farmington, owner of Hope, will be the ranch’s lead instructor.
“What she’s doing has been my dream for years,” Kiel said of Scott.
She said she was training as a physiotherapy assistant, grew up on horseback, and studied equine therapy. She said the opportunity would combine her “passion for horses and her passion for people”.
“Horses are definitely healers,” she said.
Scott said she was looking for donations, including saddlery supplies, barrels and jumping gear, sensory gear for people with autism, helmets and therapeutic riding gear. For more information or to donate, contact Scott at [email protected] or call 724-880-8875.