Jaycee’s Horses for Healing, Inc. a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has partnered with Onward and Upward therapy group at their new location, 1510 N Grand Avenue in Tahlequah, to promote the use of horses to improve the quality of life for individuals with physical, emotional, social, and cognitive disabilities.
Founded on August 1, 2017, by Joel and Jaime Jeffries; Jaycee’s Horses for Healing’s mission is to enhance and enrich lives in and around the community by providing education, social opportunities, and emotional support for individuals with disabilities through equine assisted activities and therapies.
In February of 2016, Joel and Jaime Jeffries, welcomed their daughter, Jaycee into the world. Their joyful experience was an overwhelming mix of emotions upon the confirmation of Jaycee’s diagnoses; catastrophic cardiovascular complications and Down Syndrome. Jaycee faced highly complicated and perilous open-heart surgeries and laid in the ICU at OU Children’s Hospital and at St. Frances Children’s Hospital for months. Throughout this course of time, Jaycee underwent additional surgeries. During their stay in the hospitals and at the Ronald McDonald Homes, they met families and connected with other moms and dads. They shared in celebrations and in loss. “It is indescribable how so many people including the community of Westville came together to pray and support our family in our time of need; we are excited to be giving back,” said Jaime.
Once at home, Jaycee’s family began intensive therapeutic interventions with her. Working with Sooner Start and Onward and Upward, Jaycee began to grow strength and make gains. “We saw first-hand the importance of the various therapeutic interventions; we wanted to include our horses as part of Jaycee’s therapy,” stated Joel. Joel, an equestrian trainer and former PRCA cowboy, along with wife Jaime, a State Certified Educator, felt that with their combined experience and expertise of horsemanship and equine management, land and ranch management, business and finance, operations, and education of both regular and special needs children; they should not only serve Jaycee, but others as well.