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Therapeutic riding nonprofit seeks expansion to horse barn in Great Falls

The nonprofit organization seeks to use existing barns on the site (via Google Maps)

A local nonprofit organization is hoping to expand its therapeutic riding services for people with disabilities in Great Falls.

Based at 9700 Georgetown Pike, Lift Me Up hopes to extend its services to a new horse barn with eight stables across six acres at 1051 Kelso Road near Difficult Run Stream Valley Park.

The expansion would allow the organization to offer “unmounted” wellness programs for groups such as first responders, veterans, seniors, and youth with mental challenges. The barn would serve as an equine-assisted wellness center for Lift Me Up.

“Wellness sessions are unmounted programs where participants interact with horses to learn lessons from equine behaviors. Riding lessons are not included in Wellness Sessions,” the special permit application says.

Received by Fairfax County on March 28, the application notes that the property could have been purchased by a developer and redeveloped with residential units. Instead, the current owners bought the house and barn to preserve the “serenity of fields with horses grazing.”

“Using the Kelso Road property as a horse barn INCREASES the harmony desired in the general purpose of the zoning district as it keeps the open and rural character of the district,” the application says.

The nonprofit organization was founded in 1975 by Colleen Zanin. It has 11 horses, according to its website.

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