COVID-19: Belinda Short is concerned she will not be able to afford the grain needed to feed her riding school horses. Photo Patrick Woods
COVID-19: Belinda Short is concerned she will not be able to afford the grain needed to feed her riding school horses. Photo Patrick Woods

Owner fears for farm animals as financial woes hit

THE hardworking owners of a Coast riding school and petting zoo business have had to "swallow their pride" and ask for help as fears grow for the welfare of their beloved animals.

COVID-19 restrictions forced Belinda Short and her husband to close their petting zoo business, Sunshine Coast Party Ponies, and drastically reduce the number of riding lessons at their Glasshouse Mountains Riding School.

Mrs Short said the lack of business had left a huge financial hole.

"We have 60 horses on the property and all our farm animals that we have to look after. The capacity to earn enough money, to buy feed, let alone anything else, has just crashed," she said.

"My feed bill is $1500 a week and we are probably earning half of that, if we are lucky.

"My concern is my animals going hungry, not being able to feed them is the scary part.

"I don't want my horses turning into skeletons."

Overwhelmed by the situation, Mrs Short created a GoFundMe page that would help fund the $7000 worth of grain needed to feed the animals during April and May.

With $2055 already being donated, Mrs Short said she was incredibly thankful for the support.

"I'm so grateful. All that money is just to buy the grain for my horses, nothing else," she said.

"We have had a lot of rain and there is grass in the padlocks, but we are coming into winter where the growth is going to stop and … we have to feed the horses twice a day to keep them in condition.

"So, if we could cover the grain, I would be happy."

Mrs Short who opened the riding school in 2007 said it was devastating to see all of their hard work on the line.

"I'm all right in the day because we are busy, but it's the evenings that I sit and struggle to get to sleep," she said.

"The hardest part is I don't have control of three months down the track, we don't know what's going to happen - it's out of my hands."

To donate visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-to-feed-riding-school-horses-and-ponies.



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