Local program that uses horses to help veterans may have to close

Published: Jan. 22, 2020 at 5:36 PM EST
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A program that's helped hundreds of local veterans in the last decade may be forced to close its doors.

H.O.O.V.E.S. uses horses to help veterans with a number of challenges. But without raising a significant amount of cash soon, the program will come to an end. The program offers retreats and workshops at no cost to help veterans heal from things like depression, anxiety, PTSD and addiction.

After thinking a big chunk of the down payment for a new facility was covered, the organization moved to the new farm. Executive Director Amanda Held was shocked when she learned that donation was not going to happen. Now the organization needs to raise $100,000 as soon as possible.

The quiet 30-acre farm in Swanton has been a life-changing place for a lot of people in the last year. The program was started by held, who combined her love of horses and her time in the military to design a program that uses horses to help veterans heal.

After moving from farm to farm for many years, Held found her dream property in late 2018. The land, house and barns were the perfect fit. And she thought they had a perfect partner to help make a down payment.

Amanda says in 2018 they were offered a partnership and large financial contribution. Based on that, they moved forward with the plan to buy the property. Several months later, they were told the contribution would not happen.

Held says H.O.O.V.E.S. can cover its monthly operating expenses and will be able to pay the mortgage. However, the organization isn't able to cover the down payment on the property.

Without this facility, the program will come to a halt. Many of the horses will also have to find new homes. Like the vets, the horses were all once saved by Held, too.

The goal is to have the money raised in the next couple weeks. No donation is too small. If you'd like to be part of helping keep H.O.O.V.E.S. up an running, we've posted links.