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Valley Riding's 'Unemployed Horse Fund' raises money for therapy horses

Posted at 4:42 PM, Apr 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 20:23:57-04

CLEVELAND — Normally the aisles of Rocky River Stables are full of students getting tacked up for riding lessons. But last Friday they were quiet.

Because of the stay at home order issued by Governor Mike DeWine, Valley Riding, the non-profit that runs Rocky River Stables, had to cancel lessons.

"We realized we were going to have a lot of unemployed horses who still relied on us for care, keeping, and good health," said Marilyn Hunger. She is a board member and longtime volunteer with the organization.

When the barn canceled lessons it also had to stop the therapeutic riding program. The program has about 40 students and meets regularly on Tuesday nights. Because of the revenue loss, the barn started a GoFundMe for the "unemployed horses."

There are more horses in the lesson program than can be exercised by the remaining staff. Some of the horses and ponies have been moved to temporary homes.

"They are very soothing to be around," Hunger said about why horses are important to her.

The money raised will go to feeding the horses and vet care. "It's a 24/7 kind of job," said instructor Jane Papke. "You're always thinking of them. Making sure they're comfortable."

So far the GoFundMe has raised more than $6,000. The barn will stay closed during the stay at home order which is scheduled to end on May 1.