Jeff Jackson looks onto his 29 acres, what he calls his field of dreams. His equine therapy is helping struggling young women.
ELEVA, Wis. (WEAU) – In Eleva, Acres for Joy is looking to change the world after the family that started it, lost their daughter because of an eating disorder.
"The name Abigail means the source of joy. Abigail Joy Jackson, Acres for Joy that name probably came to me 2 years after she passed away,” says co-owner Jeff Jackson.
For the past eight years, life hasn't been easy for the Jackson family.
"The kinds of things that limit you falling asleep at night, that wakes you up in the middle of the night. There’s heaviness upon your heart because you want to do whatever you can to help."
But living among this field of dreams is what keeps them going.
"All these fence posts and wires, all this building was built with love and tears and an attempt at personal recovery,” says Jackson.
It’s a joy that's spreading to those who simply step into a world, where lives are changing.
"I was just looking for a place to board my horse,” says Elizabeth Crandall, Therapeutic Riding Instructor. “I've been out here 3 years and since I've been certified as a therapeutic riding instructor and that has really helped me grow. Horses have been beneficial to me, they've help me overcome a lot of different things,” she adds.
Those benefits are also spreading to girls like Sheila and Lexi, ages 12 and 11.
"We met here and found out we go to the same school,” says 12 year old Lexi Hansen.
"Most kids growing up, you tend to be on the shy side, and so horses have really helped me overcome that quite a bit...People used to scare me, now I love meeting new people. I love working with new people, teaching kids how to ride. It just thrills me,” says Crandall.
"I feel really comfortable around here, there so welcoming here and stuff,” says Hansen.
"I spend a lot of time here and I feel like it’s my second home and I'm really comfortable here,” explains 11 year old Sheila Treacy.
Although this dynamic duo comes to learn how to ride, they, too, are building confidence in themselves.
"I have seen them go from being shy and kind of in drawn to just being more assure of themselves,” says Crandall.
The girls are using that confidence to build their own dream...
"We want to make a horse ranch together and make it a business. Yea! A lot like here. Yea!” says Sheila and Lexi.
"We're aware that there are many who have many challenges. Many that struggle. The names are different. The circumstances are different, but the pressures are similar,” says Jackson.
"You learn to be a little more sure of yourself, and horses can sense that,” says Crandall.
"Our hope is to change the world. One relationship at a time,” says Jackson.