Barn for Equine Learning welcomes first full-size horse since fire

Horse barn fire recovery

LOWELL, MICH. - Four months ago, a Lowell therapy horse barn was intentionally set on fire with 13 horses trapped inside. All 13 died.

After months of grieving, The Barn for Equine Learning is getting back on its feet, by welcoming it's first full-size horse since the fire, 16-year-old Yogi.

You know, nothing will ever bring back those 13 lost souls, but owner Kat Welton said bringing this big guy on board will start the process of moving on and galloping forward.

"He's going to be a great start, he's got a lot of other horses to live up to but I think he's got the right stuff," Welton said.

Welton wasn't expecting a new horse this soon.

"The kids found him, and made the connection and they actually went to see him without me," Welton said.

She wasn't sure he'd be a good fit.

"My goodness, he is able to give a lot more than I thought he was going to," Welton said.

Yogi doesn't replace any of the 13 gentle giants, but he gave Welton some validation.

"There's not a day that I go by that you walk out to where the barn and the pastures are and you look and you're horses aren't there, and that's hard," Welton said. "He's got a lot of first rides to give he's got a lot of healing,  I think he's wise, I think he's what we're looking for for this program."

Welton won't ever stop riding whether it's on Yogi or another horse the barn will receive. She'll continue to give kids in need the opportunity to engage with horses.

"Whether we're standing in a temporary shed or standing in a brand new barn it's the magic of getting these kids connected in a therapy setting with these horses," Welton said.

Just as she did with the original 13.

"I carry them with me no matter what I do and how I interact and the horses I see and will use for the program," Welton said. 

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