I find peace being around animals, rather that is by riding the horses, grooming, taking care of them or going for walks with my dog. I find it highly satisfying seeing an individual, rather being a horse, a person, a dog improving into a better version of themselves, then looking back and seeing how far along they have come. I like how dressage teaches this. You start at Intro A and move up the levels with each level teaching key aspects to move onto the next level. Dressage is the foundation to teach a horse to be balanced, and able to carry itself without a rider telling what to do at all times.
When I was a kid, my parents would take us to a beach that had horses for the public to ride for a fee. Realizing that we spent a long time on the horses back, my mom decided to try out some riding lessons for us. At the time, I was only 4.5-5 years old and with some convincing, my instructor accepted taking me as his student. I was able to start showing around the age of 7 in the jumper ring. It was around the age of 8-9 I got a horse that helped me grow as a rider. Allowing me to make my mistakes, going through my downs in my riding carrier and back up to winning most of our classes, and becoming the champions in the 1.10m show season. In 2016 I decided to go to Centenary University to get an B.S. in Equine Studies. I recently moved down to North Carolina early 2020 to pursue my passion for horses and start my teaching, riding and showing career.
Jana's love for horses started at the age of 4 when she went on a pony ride at a local fair. From that point on, she was hooked! She begged her father for a pony every day until he grew tired and gave in...
In a short amount of time, Jana got her first pony, a small grey older gelding. This little pony enjoyed bucking, pulling down for grass, going too slow when asked to move on and going too fast when asked to slow down. This little guy was a challenge to say the least. After realizing this little pony wasn't going to deter Jana from her passion, Mom and Dad retired the little pony and signed Jana up for professional lessons. It was from that point Mom and Dad knew horses were a part of Jana.
During grade school years, Jana worked on developing her skills and learning how to care for horses. When Jana graduated into middle and high school, she found herself competing on the rated circuit almost every weekend and earning herself recruitment letters from local universities. Although Jana attended CCSU on a track scholarship, she still came home to compete when she could.
After graduating college, Jana took horses on full time, assisting her trainer at breed shows, breaking green horses, starting youngsters and teaching beginner lessons. Over the following years, Jana attended clinics, showed, and was hired to manage a lesson and training barn. Those skills helped to build the trainer inside her. Jana learned exactly what she wanted to offer the horse world and how to branch off on her own.
Jana enjoys teaching and working with horses who are young, misunderstood, and or needs some fine tuning.
Dressage--Hunter -- Jumper -- equitation -- Horseback Riding Lessons -- Boarding : Contact info 860-655-7520
Assisting Horse Trainer/ Riding Instructor
Interest: Green project horses, Sport horses, Thoroughbreds, Showing, Jumpers, Eventing, teaching beginner to intermediate riders and the foundation of riding.
Personality: Passionate, overachiever, knowledgeable and great with kids!
Favorite JRF Horse and Why: GI Joey "Joey" because he is a solid little pony with a lot to offer his riders. He helps them understand how to respect and earn respect for a horse while being safe and fun to ride!
Personal Horse: Irish for a day "Patrick" look for Larissa and Patrick on the eventing circuit showing Beginner Novice 2022!
Desiree and Larissa Murray
Owner and Head Trainer
Interest: Eventing, Hunters, Green horses, OTTB, Intermediate to Advanced Students looking to show.
Personality: Sarcastic, Hard-Working, Determined, Big Heart, Funny and Family Oriented.
Favorite JRF Horse and Why: It's a tie between "Butterscotch" and Socialite "Social" for two very different reasons... Butterscotch is gentle, kind and consistent. She is the confidence boost kids need to challenge themselves. Social can be difficult to groom and tack if you do not earn his respect, but once under saddle, he teaches everyone the importance of adjustability through the rider's seat and is one of the favorites to ride because of this consistency which makes him fun and easy to teach with.
Personal Horse: Swans Independence "Indi" Look for Jana and Indi in the Dressage ring, on the Event Circuit and in the hunter ring!
Riding Instructor/ Horse Manager
Interests: Jumpers, Dressage and wants to be an Eventer!
Personality: Very calm, sarcastic, people and animal lover!
Favorite JRF Horse and why: Although I have a hard time choosing a favorite JRF horse, Tiece is one of my favorites. She has good ground manners and patiently waits for her students to groom and tack up. She can be a little speedy under saddle at times, but she helps her people learn to find a good riding balance.
Interest: Project Horses, Beginner to Intermediate Riders, Ponies, Jumpers and all that's in-between.
Personality: Smart, Funny, makes everything a learning experience and versatile.
Favorite JRF Horse and Why: Abracadabra "Abbey". She offers an intelligent ride in which I was able to assist in her breaking and training. She is the best lesson horse who can teach kids the ropes!
Personal Horse: Primo Demayo "Mae" and I are looking to start Eventing this year and building our bond as a horse and rider team!
At 8 years old, Elisabeth began riding hunter jumper under the training of Ellen Wells. Her passion for horses was exhibited through eagerly completing barn chores as a stable hand and working as an instructors's assistant grooming and tacking lesson horses in exchange to ride "Her" ponies. Her willingness to work hard provided her with the opportunity to ride a variety of horses and ponies. Being brave and determined, as well as riding with natural ability, Elisabeth specialized in her youth training green ponies for the lesson program. With this privilege, she gained a broad understanding of horse behavior both on the ground and under saddle. It was through her hard work and dedication that she began her equestrian career.
Elisabeth began instructing in 2010 and has since taught jumping and barrel racing to riders of all ages, as well as managed a summer riding camp program. She focuses on teaching the rider to communicate with the horse using proper cues to establish a balanced and effective seat.
For Elisabeth, working with horses gives a remarkable sense of virtue that she can attribute to of all aspects of life. With that understanding, she has found the experience teaching comes with great reward for both her and her students. She believes that everything you need to know can be found in the presence of a horse. Whether mucking stalls, cleaning tack or bravely taking a jump, all the responsibilities as an equestrian builds immeasurable character.
Elisabeth continues her training under Jana France, expanding her knowledge and experience in jumpers, hunters, equitation and dressage. She continues to work with green and unfinished horses and looks forward to refining her abilities as a ride with the humble pursuit that there is always more to learn.
Lewis Kennard France
Co-Owner/ Facilities Manager
Interests: Working with others, watching NC State sports, working on projects around the barn to improve the facilities.
Personality: Hard working, down to earth, easy to talk to and always up for anything!
Favorite JRF Horse and why: Kay, because she not only is the prettiest horse on the farm, she is my personal horse and can be used in lessons.
Getting to know Kennard: Kennard grew up in Mount Airy NC. He attended Lenoir Rhyne University to play football before transferring to NCSU where he played TE for the Wolf Pack. Kennard graduated with a Bachelors degree in Political Science. After College, Kennard continued to play semi-Pro Football and work in human services. He found that working with all kinds of kids; autistic, mentally disabled, physically disabled, kids who are in gangs, and kids who are growing up in broken homes, can be healed, even if for a little while, through sports. Kennard enjoys athletics and competition and enjoys watching his two daughters compete for JRF Equestrian at horse shows.
Hannah Rae Cole
Assisting Barn Manager
Interests: Draft horses, taking care of the horses, and pleasure/trail riding.
Personality: Hard-working, organized, and always looking to learn something new!
Favorite JRF Horse and why: Milton because he reminds me of my grandma’s horse that I learned to ride on, and his grumpy old man personality always makes me laugh.
Hannah joined JRF in August 2021 as a part time worker. She graduated from NC State with a BS in Animal Science in December 2021. She is looking to pursue a masters degree in secondary science education to become a biology teacher. She is originally from Yorktown, VA and has been around horses her entire life, taking lessons on and off from the age of 4. She began working at a farm in Hampton, VA in 2014 where she took care of horses, cattle, chickens, and goats. She bought her first horse, a driving Percheron mare named Luna and spent the majority of her time training her to ride. This is where she developed a love of draft horses. She bought her current horse Finnegan in January 2022 and is excited to see what they can do together!
Larissa started her riding career at the age of 3, receiving lessons in Brazil and it’s become her passion since day one. She began showing at the age of 5, with a focus in show jumping. She’s stayed true to the sport and learned every step of the way. She never let any set back stop her from achieving her goals.
When Larissa was 15 she moved to the United States to be closer to her family. After finishing high school she decided to further her equine studies at Meredith Manor International Equestrian Center. With already many years of hands on equestrian experience, hard work, and dedication to her passion. Larissa graduated in 2018 with all honors and a Training Certification, in addition she received special remarks and awards from the dean at graduation.
While attending school Larissa developed a better understanding of the communication between horse and rider, will doing so she found an interest in sharing her knowledge and passion.
Interests: Ground Work, Draft Crosses, Adorable Sparkly Ponies, perfectly clipped horses and live-streaming eventing competitions!
Personality: Super Organized, motivated, commited and compassionate.
Favorite JRF Horse and why: Lyric, because she and I have been together for over 11 years. I purchased her from a PMU foal rescue as a yearling and brought her along. She tells me what she wants to do when she wants to do it, but still has a work ethic...somewhat.
Liza joined JRF in 2015 as a boarder and lesson student with her horse, Lyric. A Raleigh native, Liza began riding lessons at age 7 and has never looked back. in 2006 she graduated from Martin Community College with a degree in Equine Technoligy, focusing on management and training. She has workded for an mananged many farms from small co-ops to larger competitive facilities. Always at home on the farm, it is truly her "happy place". Also a licensed Professional Counselor Associate when she's not helping manage the horses at JRF, Liza provides therapy here on the farmas a Equine Facilitated Psychotherapist.