Pegasus Special Riders hosts grand reopening following storm damage events
Rides to start back up June 6-7: ‘It's been a work of love and contributions’
OREGON — On Friday, May 12, a grand reopening and ribbon cutting event was held at Pegasus Special Riders in Oregon following the structure completion of its arena.
The facilities at Pegasus Special Riders sustained storm damage twice last year, halting its operations. The nonprofit, located at 6668 S. Carthage Road near Oregon, has been operating since 1997. It’s a therapeutic riding program for children and adults with special needs. Volunteers perform all of the required duties, such as working with the riders, caring for the horses and facilities, raising funds and providing the necessary administrative support.
The damage on Aug. 28, 2022 included the facility’s loafing shed for its horses and severe damage to a storage building. Back on March 5, 2022, a windstorm severely damaged the main arena building. High winds tore off about 120 feet of canopy, twisted the steel frame and the large front door was blown off and landed inside of the arena.
Pegasus Special Riders has been unable to perform any rides since the storm damage and was dealing with pandemic restrictions before that. The nonprofit worked on cleanup, construction and dealt with insurance providers over the past year. The damage in March was over $300,000.
“This has taken a long time,” PSR Board President Donna Fellows said. “We still have a lot to do. We're moving forward because we now have a covered arena again and an outdoor arena to have lessons if the weather is nice. We don't have all the electric work done or any water yet. Electric is what we're waiting for, so we can have water, fans and lights. Other than that, the building is good to go. We thought we'd be further along, but here we are."
The Oregon Chamber of Commerce attended Friday’s events and congratulated PSR on its grand reopening. Fellows said equine activities will resume starting on June 6-7. An outdoor arena will be used if the indoor arena isn’t all the way completed by that time.
PSR’s funding is nearly completely made up of donations.
“We've had wonderful people that have helped,” Fellows said. “It's been volunteers and people that are willing to just help us out. We've had contractors that have helped us out. That was wonderful. It's overwhelming, because what you thought you were going to have to spend and what actual cost is, it's been yards away. And if you have the funds to do it, then you don't have the materials. But we've been blessed with contributions and help. It's been a work of love and contributions."
PSR has seen donations come from Rockford, Sterling, Wisconsin and “all over,” Fellows said.
”We've had people that donated and we didn't even know who they were,” Fellows said. “I don't even know how they found out about it. It's been wonderful to know that people are out there that want to help us do our job for the people that need to have our services."
Fellows called the feeling of being able to offer rides and equine services again “heartwarming.”
“We've waited for three years with COVID-19 and everything else,” Fellows said. “We've been very anxious to be able to get things done. We have volunteers that are waiting and calling and asking when the rides will start. We have students and their parents calling. We fill a need that unless you have a challenged individual close to you, you don't even know about. I say sometimes that we're the best-kept secret in Ogle County. I just want to thank all of the people that have contributed to us all these years and especially during this disaster."