A new crowdfunding campaign is calling on the public to help save horses at the Donegal Equestrian Centre.
The horse riding centre, located in Bundoran, has lost all business due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Without Easter and summer visitors to bring money in, the centre now fears that they will struggle to feed their 45 horses.
The centre runs from a small site with limited grazing which means the horses need hay all year round. Large bales are €30 each, and six are used every week to keep the horses and ponies fed. It is hoped that €2000 can be raised to cover hay for approx. 10 weeks.
Those who support the GoFundMe feeding fund are offered discounts and a chance to win prizes, and the centre is already halfway to the target.
Rachel Leonard of Donegal Equestrian Centre said: “We have just come out of the winter so our feeding stocks are depleted. We would normally be looking forward from Paddy’s day to a bright and busy season. Which allows us to replenish our finances and hay stocks, which would carry us through the next winter.”
Rachel added that tourism is 80% of their business, and without visitors, they have no other source of income.
“Our horses are the core of our business they are all owned by the centre. They and the business face an uncertain future, as our bookings are now non existent. Bookings for March, April & May have all had to be refunded.
“All the horses were fit and ready to go for the forthcoming season they have now had to be simply put out while wait and see what happens.”
In her online plea, Rachel added that the business is not a registered charity, but a struggling small business that has the welfare of their horses as a priority.
“This why we are asking for help, this business is just one of many small businesses that is struggling along with all the farmers in the country. A bit of a cheeky ask you might think but the welfare of our horses is our main concern and this is why we are asking.”
The centre will also have to deal with costs such as rent, rates, insurance but their main concern at the moment is keeping the horses fit and well.
Rachel added: “In the hopes of staying in business and keeping our much loved horses going we are offering the chance for our lovely clients or any potential client to support our equine work colleagues.
“All donations will receive a 10% discount voucher to use at Donegal Equestrian Centre and all donations of over €10 will be entered into a draw to win :-
* A day trail ride for 2 people
* 2 hour beach ride for 2 people
* 1 hour children’s group lesson for 4 children
“The draw will be held on 1st September 2020 all prizes are given in voucher form and valid for 5 years.”
Those who donate on GoFundMe here will be asked to follow a link to enter the giveaway.