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Lowell barn gets new animals after fire kills 13 therapy horses

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LOWELL, Mich. — Less than two weeks after a fire destroyed a barn and killed 13 therapy horses at the Barn for Equine Learning, they now have six new miniature horses.

Kat Welton, the owner of the Barn for Equine Learning, says a woman reached out to her saying she had some miniature horses she'd like to donate.  They picked them up and brought them home a few days ago.

While other people have offered to donate full size horses, Kat says it's too soon for that and the wounds are too fresh. However, she's excited to see how these miniature horses fit into their family.

"It's been very challenging and comes in waves," Welton said. "You get strong and then you get sad and that's to be expected."

The 13 horses died in a fire nearly two weeks ago, which investigators are calling suspicious.  Since then, Welton says support from the community has been overwhelming.

"I just felt really moved and connected and we went up from there.  The minis were well-loved, but she knew that she needed a place for them," Welton said.  "Her health was deteriorating.  We went up with the intention to get a few and came back with six."

The new additions are named Jet, DeeDee, Bucky, CJ, Cloud and Jojo. While Kat hasn't decided on a role for the mini horses just yet, she knows they'll make great therapy horses.

"They make you feel good. You can interact with them, great for therapy," she said. "You can use them in therapy, some of the bigger ones can hold the smaller kids."

Some youth volunteers that help out on the farm had the chance to meet them on Friday.

"It helps me to feel like I'm of value, to be able to come here and help other people," said volunteer Caitlin Patrick. "It's important. You're making a difference."

Kat says people have called wanting to donate full-size horses, but says it's too soon for that.  They need to rebuild the barn first, and they are still grieving.

"That will come," Kat said. "We have to get some of the bigger pieces before we add to the big herd."

On Saturday, they're going to have a group meeting to help clean up the farm. Anyone who wants to help will be able to meet the six new additions.

The event is 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Anyone interested can RSVP at thebarnforel@gmail.com

The Barn for Equine Learning is located at 3203 Timpson Ave SE.

You can also visit their Go Fund Me page.

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