Lifestyle: Carousel Ranch: Lessons from Jani

Published by: on Tuesday July 17th, 2012

This week, we wanted to share a story about one of our students – Jani Schofield.  Many may have seen Jani on Oprah or on Discovery Channel, who have done stories surrounding Jani’s diagnosis of childhood schizophrenia.  Jani was one of the youngest children to have ever received such a diagnosis and has been riding at Carousel Ranch for about two years.

We hope you enjoy the following words written by Michael Schofield about his daughter Jani.

“The worst of Jani's schizophrenia symptoms are under control but our lives still completely revolve around her. It is like standing at the beach, always watching the water, looking for any signs of a tsunami. In other words, fear is a pretty constant part of my life.  Except when we are at Carousel Ranch. It is the only place I know where I can completely relax.

I know there that Jani is completely safe. More than that, I know she is happy and when she is happy, the voices in her head and the visions she sees are gone. I love watching her on the horse, usually Annabelle. Becky and Katie and their staff are fantastic, endlessly patient and with a sincere love for Jani, something she doesn't see much of (because people don't always know how to react to her talking about her hallucinations as if they are real). Katie and Becky just roll with it, effortlessly incorporating Jani's hallucinations into her real world and bringing her back to Annabelle and her needs. Jani has achieved so much under their tutelage. She has the confidence to stand up on Annabelle's back and even trot, something that she was terrified of. Riding and working at Carousel Ranch gives her confidence. I've seen her blossom from a child defined by her illness to a child outside her illness.

To Jani, this is more than just time on a horse. It is a chance to live free for a few minutes a week. It is a chance to grow up with fine young women like Katie and Taylor she can look up to. It is a chance for her to see that life can still go on even with her schizophrenia.

Right now we are going through a bit of a tough patch again, but again, Carousel Ranch remains one of the few constants in our lives. It is the gift of peace."

At the ranch, we have always said that the children teach us so much – and Jani is no exception.   Prior to Jani, we did not have much experience with schizophrenia and certainly not in children.  Through Jani, we have learned so much that not only allows us to be successful in achieving goals and addressing her needs but in educating ourselves to work with others like Jani in the future. 

All of us absolutely love Jani and the time that she and her family spend at the ranch.  She is a unique treasure, and we feel lucky to have in our lives and as part of our Carousel Ranch family.