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$10,000 worth of horseback riding equipment stolen from non-profit

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    MORRISON, IL (WQAD ) — Police are investigating after thieves stole close to $10,000 worth of horseback riding equipment from a Whiteside County non-profit Sunday night. White Oaks Therapeutic Equestrian Center helps people with disabilities learn to ride horses.

Program Director, Tawny Wiersema, got a call Monday night from a neighbor barn boarder who also had some equipment stolen Sunday night. That’s when Wiersema remembered her barn was unlocked because horses were inside.

“I came over and I checked and everything was just gone,” explains Wiersema.

Somehow the thieves broke into the locked tack room full of equipment.

“They stole 14 new saddles, five brand new saddle pads, four brand new helmets, several sets of reigns, girths,” lists off Wiersema. “Probably about $10,000.”

The stolen saddles have special attachments to assist riders with disabilities.

“A lot of our students have been struggling, they look forward to this – this is their peace,” Wiersema emphasizes.

Wiersema says she was ready to reopen the barn for lessons this month, but she may have to push that back.

“We have to go on the hunt for used saddles because to replace them brand new would be tough,” Wiersema comments.

With help from the community she says she’s confident they’ll be up and running soon thanks to donations.

“Our students, they struggle everyday and they have to get over bigger obstacles than this,” says Wiersema.

There were two horses in the barn at the time of the theft; they are safe.

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