By Leah Sander
WARSAW — Magical Meadows has a new hay barn, courtesy of a local couple.
On Wednesday, March 31, the Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce had a ribbon-cutting for the Jim and Jean Northenor Hay Barn, located on the Meadows’ property at 3386 E. CR 525N, Warsaw.
The couple gave $30,000 for the barn.
“First of all, I’ve had horses since I was 3 years old and (Magical Meadows’ founder) Tammy (Stackhouse) was gracious enough to let me ride her Tennessee Walker that she had out here,” said Jean Northenor.
“Steve (Reed) my son suggested that he bring me out here,” she continued. “That was on my bucket list. … I just fell in love with the place and when she told me what they did with the children, it just turns your heart on. And I knew they were needing this barn.”
“We thought about putting it in our will,” she said. “In fact, we were planning to put enough for the barn in our will and one day, we said ‘You know, why don’t we just go ahead and give it to them now when we know they’ve got it when they need it.’ … It was just a labor of love.”
The couple had given enough to Magical Meadows to cover staff’s original estimate for the whole cost. However, prices increased.
The Northenors ended up giving more funds then, adding up to the $30,000 full cost of the barn. It was built in February by Schwartz Construction of Berne.
Stackhouse said she was extremely grateful for the gift.
“Before we were able to purchase the 30 acres behind us, we had to buy hay and it would cost us about $40,000 a year just to feed the horses,” she said. “And so the K21 Health Foundation did a matching grant with us and we were able to purchase that land and so we’ve had our own hay, but of course we didn’t have any place to store it.”
“And Jean is very familiar with the care of horses and she understood the importance and the need of that hay barn and her and her husband were very gracious and donated the funds for that and (it was a) huge blessing to us,” said Stackhouse.
Magical Meadows is to start up its riding season the week of April 12, she said. The nonprofit, which she started in 2007, provides therapeutic horseback riding sessions for children and adults with physical, cognitive and emotional needs.
Stackhouse said she was grateful to keep the horseback riding going last year with health safety measures in place during COVID-19.
“Because what happens is … this is something that (the people participating) first of all need because the movement of the horse is how we move and so it helps their bodies to engage the way that it’s supposed to so that helps to build their core muscle strength and things like that,” she said.
“They needed it because of all that was going on in the world and how scary it is for all of normal people let alone those with different abilities and how they process things,” said Stackhouse.
She said the organization is also seeking volunteers. To learn how to volunteer, people may visit Magical Meadows’ website themagicalmeadows.org.
Donations are also welcome. People may learn how to donate by visiting the website.