Family begins healing with horses
MANNING — For a year and a half, the Riesselman family of Manning has been seeking solace for their grief at the loss of their 4-year-old Jed, on the backs of horses. Jed died in a farming accident.
Now, Jed’s parents, Rob and Megan, are taking what they know and reaching towards others who have experienced loss with the development of the non-profit foundation Stables 4 Jed.
The foundation, located at their farm 5 miles southwest of Manning, will combine grief therapy and equine therapy.
Finding a lack of services to use in this way motivated the Riesselmans. Megan said there are many equestrian places around that focus on Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, or speech. She said most of the equestrian places dabble in cognitive disabilities or veterans or PTSD or do some anxiety and depression.
“Nobody solely focuses on loss. We wanted to focus on what we know and have an outlet for people that need it,” she said. “We talked about how Phase I would be the horse facility itself. If it goes over well, potentially phase 2 would be more of a cabin retreat type of an area if people need to stay.”
Megan said her family has always turned to horses, but it’s difficult for her now since Jed had such a love for horses.
“I feel like just what we got out of it benefit-wise will help so many people. That’s how we all communicated when we were going through hard times,” she said. “There’s a lot of literature on the benefits of equestrian therapy.”
Rob said after losing their son they were at a standstill.
“With my wife’s family, we wondered what we could do with this,” he said. “Something has to come out of this so we used our love of horses. Horses seem to have helped us and we’ve gone through a lot with the horses so we would like to share those with people.”
Rob said everyone’s grief is different.
“I can’t tell people this is what you’re supposed to feel or do,” he said. “Even me and Megan losing the same kid affects us differently.”
Megan said the family wanted to use their experience for a plan and a purpose and help others.
“That’s how my family has always been. We have always been faith-based but this has made it solidified,” she said. “There are trials and tribulations in this world and this is ours.”
Rob said there are probably people who have been praying for this kind of help in this area for a long time.
The stable building will cost $500,000 to build and will include a four-horse stall barn, tack room, and sand-based arena for the horses. There will also be a greeting area, bathroom and therapy room.
The non-profit will help anyone who experienced a loss, said Megan.
“It could be financial loss, relationships, or even kids going through the divorce of their parents,” she said. “I just feel like there’s a need out there and if anyone is going to step up it’s us.”
Contact Robert and Megan Riesselman at 712-210-6022 or email stables4Jed@gmail.com for more information or to donate.