Therapy non-profit seeks funds to maintain horse facility

PLAINFIELD, Ill. (WLS) -- Nestled between two subdivisions on the border of Plainfield and Bolingbrook is a slice of paradise for about 16 retired horses and the dozens of kids who ride the animals for therapy.

The non-profit Ready Set Ride Therapeutic Recreational Facility has been operating since 2001. Director Lisa Afshari says maintaining the facility is a huge challenge.

"Animals are pretty wonderful therapy tools but they are expensive, each horse just in food alone is $300 a month," Afshari said.

The horses are donated; all are older, which makes veterinary bills very high, especially this year. The snow and rain over the winter and spring caused the creek to flood, and two horses came down with Potomac Fever from an organism in the water. The vet bill was $16,000.

Afshari says if they can't raise the money to cover the costs, she will be forced to downsize.

"We'll have to start getting rid of horses because we can't afford to feed and keep all of them, so that's going to limit the type of riders and number of riders that we're able to help," Afshari said.

The horses help about 100 kids. Most have special needs. Twins Hattie and Annabelle Moran are healthy, however, their mom brought them here to work on gross motor skills and speech.

"From day one, Annabelle only had single words when we came here in April for a trial, and in the car on the way home, she was putting more words together," Deb Moran said.

Michael Carumusa suffers from some social disorders. Volunteering here has helped him develop.

"Working with them makes me feel great," Caramusa said.

Besides counting on good weather next winter and spring, Ready Set Ride is hoping a fundraiser at the end of October will raise the funds it needs to keep all of its horses.

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