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Hoppin' around the Barn to help out horses

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    Alexandra Black, 6, pets Jimmy, a rescue thoroghbred racing horse, Sunday during Hopping Around the Barn at Angels Haven Horse Rescue in Eaton Township. Alexandra traveled from Castle Pines, Colorado, with her sister, Claire, 7, at bottom left. Also pictured is the sisters’ cousin, Emily Bell, 7, of Fairview Park. Emily and her three siblings volunteer at the rescue farm with their mother, Dana. In exchange for the weekend help, everyone gets to ride the horses.

    ANDREW DOLPH / CHRONICLE

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    Children play games with the Easter Bunny during Hopping Around the Barn on Sunday at Angels Haven Horse Rescue in Eaton Township.

    ANDREW DOLPH / CHRONICLE

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EATON TWP. — One local nonprofit kicked off the Easter festivities early, while raising funds for neglected and abused horses.

Roughly 450 people came out to Angels Haven Horse Rescue’s annual Hoppin’ around the Barn, which benefits the 17 rescue horses on the property, co-founder Heidi Sandrev said.

For the past 13 years, Angels Haven Horse Rescue has taken in and rehabilitated horses while providing education opportunities to the public. It is affiliated with the Ohio Horseman’s Council, Ohio Farm Bureau and Kiwanis, and provides programming for scout troops and other youth groups. It partners with the Positive Education Program, connecting children with mental health and behavioral challenges, emotional needs or disabilities to the horses it has rescued.

“While I was with another organization, I realized there was a larger need,” Sandrev said. “We try to not only rescue horses, but that we help people by their interaction, and also by educating on horse care and rehabilitation and the overall needs of a horse is our secondary mission.

She added later, “What I love most is we have evolved over the 13 years to become ‘helping horses, helping people.’”

Sunday the property was full of children participating in an egg hunt, horse rides and other activities. Proceeds benefit the rescue, helping pay for veterinary and farrier services, as well as food and bedding.

“We had about 450 (attend); we brought a lot of new faces, which is wonderful, because naturally we’re wanting to not only raise funds, but a big part of it is creating awareness so that people know that we’re here,” Sandrev said.

She hopes some of those new faces will return as volunteers. The nonprofit’s youngest volunteer is about 4 months old and its oldest is “94 years young.”

“Three thousand, five hundred-plus eggs were filled by one of our volunteers and her mother, who is 94 years young,” she said. “And she helps us wrap gifts for Snacks with Santa. So while she is not out on the (farm) working with the horses, she has her special place by doing things on the peripheral. And she loves it.”

For more information or to volunteer with Angels Haven, call Sandrev at (440) 781-5060 or visit @Angels.Haven.Horse on Facebook.

Sandrev said the group has adopted out many of the horses it has cared for, working hard to match the animal’s personality to a potential owner. She said many of the horses on the property that can be broken to ride are good for intermediate to advanced riders. Others who can’t be ridden make good “pasture pals,” but there is no time limit for how long the animals can stay with Angels Haven.

“Once we get them off the truck, they know,” she said. “You can see it in their eyes when they’re (taken from) a bad situation, you really can. It’s interesting how they do know, but it still takes time.”

Contact Carissa Woytach at 329-7245 or cwoytach@chroniclet.com.
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