Stillwater Horse Whispers Ranch just outside of Whitefish has been a staple in Flathead County for the last 50 years.
“We’ve been here since 1972, on this property,” Stillwater Horse Whispers Ranch owner Bobbi Hall told MTN News.
Disaster struck early Saturday morning as the horse arena used for specialized training and therapy, collapsed due to heavy snow.
“It could’ve happened during the day when people were in there working, and I heard it and all I could say was thank goodness nobody was in it,” said Hall.
Hall uses the arena to teach horse language classes through Flathead Valley Community College as well as specialized therapy sessions.
Hall has spent countless therapy hours in the horse arena with her own daughter Cedar, who has Down Syndrome.
“My daughter has become the wonderful person she is because she’s my helper and these horses have made her into the awesome person and athlete she is,” added Hall.
Longtime friend Andrew Bing said Hall needs a working horse arena to properly teach her classes and conduct training.
“Without the arena, Bobbi really can’t do what she does, it’s the place where all the time with the classes are held inside, all the training happens with the horses,” added Bing.
Bing said the original construction of the arena built by a third party was flawed leading to the collapse. He said early estimates show upwards of $150,000 must be raised for a new arena.
“As I put it, and she may not like this statement, she operates on a shoestring and so there’s no insurance so, no insurance is around to help pay for this so, we’ve got to figure out a way to pay for it,” said Bing.
Hall said the clock is ticking, with classes already scheduled for this March.
“We’re trying to figure out how we’re going to do it without the arena, but we will figure something out until we can get it up,” added Hall.
Cedar said 34 horses call the property home, including 25 rescues, "it’s my heaven."
A GoFundMe page has been set up for those who would like to donate.