Therapeutic Horse Rides Help Children Heal

The horses at Jeremiah's Crossing in Babcock, Wis., provide more than a ride for children who visit.

"Either being in a wheelchair or whatever you have to deal with," 12-year-old Scedra Stoffel, who has cerebral palsy, said, "riding is a way to distract you from that."

Stoffel's horse she rides is named Star.

"He loves helping people," Stoffel said. "You can tell that."

Her mother, Julie Stoffel, said Scedra was born three months early.

"She thinks star knows her really well," Julie said. "I think she does too."

Star is one of 17 horses at Jeremiah's Crossing, a ranch where kids with cognitive or physical disabilities can get therapeutic rides and lessons, all which all started about five years ago after Julie was working with one of the now co-founders at school: Kathleen Harris.

"It was my daughter's birthday one year," Julie said. "I said you have a horse, and I have a little girl. She'd love to go for a ride!"

Jeremiah's Crossing's first fall open, they had 13 riders, and co-founder Roger Harris said now they have 63 riders this summer.
Rodger and Kathleen believe the horses help the children heal.

"We've had some kids come that can barely walk with their canes," Rodger said. "Now they walk with no canes, and their parents tell us its all because of the horses."

The next step for the Harris family is they want to help children year round with an indoor arena, which they are fundraising for with ride-a-thon events and other community get togethers, but still need help.

"Oh, it means everything," Rodger said. "That's what we do it for: the looks on their (the kids') faces."

For kids like Scedra, the riding is therapeutic and helps her feel happy and loved.

"You don't just bond with the people," Scedra said. "You bond with the horses. You bond with the horse you ride. They become your friend, and they feel like they're family."

You may contact Jeremiah’s Crossing by:
Email –
Phone – 715-884-2551
Mail – P.O. Box 126, Babcock, WI 54413

They're located at 2440 County Hwy X, Babcock, WI 54413

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