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UT Equestrian Team raises money for hurricane relief efforts

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    Mohamad Kanan, junior at the University of Toledo, rides Salsa with the guidance of University of Toledo equestrian team member Nadia Sherman during the Horses for Humanity event on Friday.

    THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH
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    Elissa Kenney, junior at the University of Toledo, is a little nervous getting on Stanley for ride as University of Toledo equestrian team member Michelle Klingberg assists during the Horses for Humanity event on Friday.

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It’s not every day horses are allowed to graze and amble around a green space in the middle of the University of Toledo’s main campus.

The UT Equestrian Team, which is only in its second year, pulled together a unique fund-raiser Friday to benefit disaster relief efforts in Texas and Florida, as well as UT’s food bank. Visitors paid a few dollars or donated nonperishable items to ride one of four horses in a temporary corral near the Memorial Field House during the Horses for Humanity event.

“We had a horse on campus last year to promote our team and it was really successful,” junior Andrea Woo, founder and co-president of the team, said. “We planned to have horses on campus this year to ride and wanted to do a fund-raiser of some sort, then the hurricanes came through.”

The group garnered a little more than $400 for the American Red Cross response to hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and collected roughly 25 canned goods for the university food bank, Ms. Woo said.

Junior Jamie Meglich and her father transported her two personal horses and two therapy horses from Weston-based Dusty Boots to campus. The animals immediately drew a crowd of interested students.

Ms. Meglich said the group’s fall riding fund-raiser was originally supposed to benefit the team, but after the hurricanes, members agreed to swap it with the event planned for the spring.

“So many people want to help,” she said.

The team also wanted to do some good for UT, and decided to include the food bank as a beneficiary.

“A lot of people don’t know that we have a food bank here on campus,” Ms. Meglich said. “We can let people know about that resource and that it’s there if they need it.”

Senior Edvin Rocsi said he never expected to get his first-ever horseback ride on his college campus.

“It’s relaxing, for sure,” he said after a ride. “I’m sure it would be more relaxing in a nature setting, but this was convenient. And it was fun.”

Visit utoledo.edu/studentaffairs/food-pantry for more information about the pantry. 

Contact Alexandra Mester amester@theblade.com419-724-6066, or on Twitter @AlexMesterBlade.

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