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A Riding Center for the Disabled Struggles to Care for Its Herd

An organization that provides therapeutic riding lessons for people with disabilities said a tearful goodbye amid fears over the spread of coronavirus.


By Todd Heisler

March 27, 2020


The first horse to be loaded onto the trailer was Mr. Big. Corina Papa leaned in close and whispered a tearful goodbye.

Mr. Big is her favorite horse at the stable.

“It’s very sad,” said Ms. Papa, who works with Gallop NYC at its stable in Howard Beach, Queens.

“-going to have a huge toll on people with disabilities,”

Amid the shutdown of large gatherings and nonessential businesses, Gallop NYC, which specializes in therapeutic riding for people with emotional, developmental and physical challenges, had to cancel all its programs.

The measures being taken to fight the spread of coronavirus, specifically the orders to stay at home, are “going to have a huge toll on people with disabilities,” said the executive director, James Wilson.

The nonprofit moved the first seven of 25 horses to a private farm upstate last week in an effort to cut costs. Without the income from giving lessons, Mr. Wilson hopes the move will allow it to reopen.

“I know they’re not leaving forever,” he said. “When they get back, I’m going to put them back to work.”

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