Therapeutic Riding Center Set to Open This Spring - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Ohio Valley Native Coming Home to Open Therapeutic Riding Center

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Jacobsburg, OH -

Julie Larish, an Ohio Valley native, is coming home, and she's bringing her therapeutic riding business with her.

RJ Ranch and Riding Center was founded by Larish in Idaho in 2008. Now she's offering her life changing services in Jacobsburg, Ohio.

RJ Ranch boasts 88 acres and 17 horses. Twelve of them are therapeutic riding horses, and five are rescues. Julie says kids and horses are her passion. There's nothing like seeing a child's face light up when they come to the ranch.

"There's such a connection between the horse and child," she says. "A lot of people will say, 'You did this,' no I didn't do it, the horse did." It's that personality connection, and the natural ability of the horse to make the body move that is therapeutic.  Just a few of the disabilities that can benefit from riding include Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, and Cystic Fibrosis.
"The ones with Autism seem to take off a lot faster than some of the other disabilities," Larish said. We also ride for stress reduction. People that come back from serving overseas can come out and learn to ride."

'Milkshake' is one of Julie's therapeutic animals. She's a small Arabian Pony that's had cancer for the past ten years, and she's still doing incredibly well.

"A lot of children that have physical disabilities or cancer can meet Milkshake," she says. "They see how much effort she puts into everything and how much life she has. They seem to connect with her."

Getting a non-profit organization off the ground is never easy, but Julie has help in Lillian Siebieda. Lillian is a friend who is helping write grants for funding.

"Having experienced horses helping me through sad times and their innate sense of knowing what you need, they can make you feel 100% better," Siebieda says. "I do know that therapy with horses is a great asset and we really need it in this area."

Julie charges $25 per week. The fee goes toward the care of the horses, and the building of a brand new riding arena. 

RJ Ranch and Riding center is accepting new clients, volunteers and donations. You can find them on Facebook or call Julie at 740-686-2989.