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Fire at Ohio equestrian center kills horses

Published on March 22, 2013 3:01AM

Last changed on March 22, 2013 6:30AM

OREGON, Ohio (AP) -- Ten horses and other farm animals perished early Thursday when fire destroyed a 100-year-old barn at a northwestern Ohio equestrian center that provides horse-riding therapy programs for the disabled, authorities said.

The fire in the 100-by-100-foot wood-framed barn at the Vail Meadows Equestrian Center in Oregon was reported at about 3:30 a.m. Thursday. The horses -- including six that were used for therapy purposes -- as well as several goats, pigs and fowl died in the barn.

"That was our whole program," Mike McGee, a Toledo police sergeant and member of the Vail family told The Blade newspaper. "We're going to try and keep the program going but we'll have to start over... We've got a lot of kids that depend on us."

McGee said the horses trained for years for the therapy programs and had calm temperaments. One of them was a retired Toledo police horse.

The cause hasn't been determined. McGee said damage was thought to be about $100,000.

Vail Meadows Equestrian Center is a 25-acre farm and housed about 35 horses. It offers horseback riding as therapy to people with disabilities, as well as services to able-bodied riders. There are currently about 40 people with disabilities involved in the program.

The Vail family started the center in the 1990s.

Copyright 2013 The AP.


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