Mourners remember horses lost in fire - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Mourners remember horses lost in fire

OREGON, OH (Toledo News Now) -

People at the Vail Meadows Riding Center in Oregon are still in mourning.

In March, a barn fire killed ten therapy horses.

On Sunday, a memorial service was held in their memory.

The multi-faith service involved Catholic, Christian and Native American blessings and prayers.

This was all about closure for those who rode and trained the horses.

Their pictures now hang at Vail Meadows, like Shanna Christiansen's big buddy Harley.

"The horses were always nice and calming to me. Harley always remembered me the way I was," said Shanna.

"It helped her out by giving her confidence in things she needed," added Shanna's dad John.

Children with mental and physical disabilities rode the horses as a form of therapy.

The animals gave them new meaning to life and hope for the future.

Shanna was devastated by Harley's death in the barn fire.

"I was very sad that day. Very sad. Began crying. I couldn't watch any horse movies for a week or so," she said.

The therapy program is still in place.

There are half as many horses but the number of classes has doubled by reducing the number of riders.

"When the fire happened, you just think 'no way.' But after you think about it, so many people depend on you in the community and comes forward and supports you, you know you can't give up," said founder Joy Vail.

Next step for Vail Meadows is to replace the burned barn and bring in new therapy horses, like the beloved ones memorialized there in pictures.

See these related stories:

Oregon barn destroyed, horses killed in fire

Fundraiser benefits Vail Meadow's Equestrian Center

After 6 therapy horses die in fire, community helping rebuild

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