Barn Fire Kills 13 Therapy Horses in Michigan

0
513

Around 1:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 8, The owners of The Barn for Equine Learning in Lowell, Michigan, experienced every horse owner’s nightmare.

“My stepfather was letting the dog out and saw the flames,” founder Kay Welton told local ABC affiliate WZZM. “I ran down from my house to the barn, and the horses—the fire had taken the barn.”

Welton went into the barn and opened stall doors, but she was too late. The 13 horses in the barn and one pet rabbit had perished as a result of smoke inhalation.

Further compounding the devastation caused by the loss of these horses is their connection to the community. The Barn for Equine Learning offers programs in equine-assisted learning, equine-assisted psychotherapy and community outreach programs alongside traditional riding lessons and summer camps. Those programs will be suspended, but the organization is already working to rebuild.

The Barn had two horses that had been recently added to the herd and were housed in a separate building and survived the fire. Those horses will become an important part of the program as The Barn restarts.

The Barn did have insurance coverage which will help replace some of the lost property. Additionally, a GoFundMe page has been created to help raise funds to rebuild and start a new herd of therapy horses.

Tap here to view The Barn for Equine Learning’s GoFundMe page.

Authorities are calling the fire suspicious and are investigating the cause of the blaze as a criminal matter. While firefighters were putting out the flames, the barn’s owners noticed that one of the barn doors had been chained shut and the fence surrounding the area had been cut. Additionally, Welton told WZZM that there had been “odd things” happening around the property in the lead up to the fatal fire. The organization was in the process of setting up surveillance cameras when the fire happened.

Anyone with information about the fire is asked to contact the Kent County Sheriff’s Office at 616-632-6125.

While the investigation proceeds, the riders and volunteers at The Barn are working through their grief over the loss of the 13 beloved horses. A memorial service for the animals will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 15 at The Barn’s property.


Leslie Potter is a writer and photographer based in Lexington, Kentucky. www.lesliepotterphoto.com

Subscribe now

Previous articleTime-Pressed
Next articleFeatured Video: Florida Cracker Horse vs. Alligator
Leslie Potter
Leslie Potter is a graduate of William Woods University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Equestrian Science with a concentration in saddle seat riding and a minor in Journalism/Mass Communications. She is currently a writer and photographer in Lexington, KY.Potter worked as a barn manager and riding instructor and was a freelance reporter and photographer for the Horsemen's Yankee Pedlar and Saddle Horse Report before moving to Lexington to join Horse Illustrated as Web Editor from 2008 to 2019. Her current equestrian pursuits include being a grown-up lesson kid at an eventing barn and trail riding with her senior Morgan gelding, Snoopy.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here