For Berkshire Horseworks, moving their operation means moving horses

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RICHMOND — It was moving day for Berkshire Horseworks on Tuesday.

But it wasn't just any ordinary moving day. Berkshire Horseworks is an organization that uses horses in a variety of therapies and programs. The organization works with everyone from kids to veterans local inmates. So when you move Horseworks, you have to move horses.

Fortunately, their new home, on a seven-acre site in town, wasn't too far down Route 41. So the plan, according to Executive Director Hayley Sumner, was to transport three of the four horses via horse trailer and ride the other one.

That horse, Spirit, doesn't like to travel in trailers, said Sumner. So she rode Spirit down 41.

They were escorted by several volunteers, a member of the Berkshire County Sheriff's Dept., and local police, for safety, said Sumner.

"No-o-o," she said laughing. "No problems. A couple of those big trucks, 20-wheelers, went by the other way, blaring their horns. But that was fine."

Sumner expressed appreciation to the sheriff's office, "which has been very supportive," and the local police and a number of local contractors who have helped her organization relocate. Part of the reason law enforcement has been supportive, she said, is the programs she has run for inmates on anger management and socialization.

Sumner was also quick to thank the Berkshire Equestrian Center, which has hosted her programs for the past three years. The move was made for programming reasons, she said.

"It allows us to run more programs," she said. And, she admitted, the new property, which is also a lease arrangement, will enable her to better customize those programs.

"We will be expanding our therapy work [to more types of clients]," she said.

In the end, said Sumner, it was a long day, to get the horses and the equipment to the new location, even though it is only about two miles down the road.

"I've never worked so hard in my life," she said. "But when I saw Spirit and the other horses running around in the paddock, I sat down and cried. I was so happy."

Reach staff reporter Derek Gentile at 413-629-4621.


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