Two therapy ranches roped together | #specialneeds | #kids

TEXARKANA, Texas — Two therapeutic ranches are merging to collaborate and work to provide support and comfort to both military veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and special needs children.

Recently operators with both the Runnin WJ Ranch Therapeutic Riding Ranch here and the Lancer Legacy Ranch in Maud, Texas, decided that equine therapy would serve both groups.

“Basically we at both ranches have a heart for equine therapy, especially since horse riding has been discovered to help a great deal with PTSD,” said Runnin WJ Executive Director Sam Clem. “This is what the Lord can do when you want to touch both the hearts of veterans and special needs children.”

Lancer Legacy Ranch President Matt Fisk agrees.

“At least since around 2015 and 2016, Equine Therapy has been discovered to be very good for veterans with PTSD,” he said. ” Feeling useful, interacting with others and riding horses can really help because one of the key symptoms of PTSD is feeling a deep sense of isolation. Being around people and horses gives PTSD victims more of a sense of identity and purpose and that’s what these veterans need.”

Fisk added that even though Lancer Legacy Ranch had room for more then 15 veterans when the place opened in 2017, the cost of maintaining the ranch site gradually became cost prohibitive (especially after COVID-19 hit). The Maud ranch will be shut down, but the process will be a gradual one.

Clem said the veterans will be able to stay inside a vintage 1905 wood-frame home near Runnin WJ.

Runnin W.J Barn Manager Mack Dean, said all the men have to do is build and help maintain fences as well as do some painting.

“Their interaction with the kids and the horses will be real important,” Dean said.

Fisk, himself a veteran, said the veterans may also get the chance to help serve as sidewalkers for the kids as the children ride the horses.

“Right now, we are still in the transition of getting our veterans over here,” Fisk said. “We will start out getting two veterans to live here first then gradually move others in.”

(Runnin WJ Ranch is located at 4802 S. Kings Highway.)

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