Liliana and Gunner are ready to be adopted to loving families.

Are you looking for a fun, safe way to celebrate Halloween, and do you have the heart to give back to an awesome cause? Then search no further than RVR Horse Rescue’s second annual Barn-O-Ween event.

For nearly 20 years, RVR Horse Rescue’s mission has been to harness the power of volunteers to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome horses that have suffered abuse, neglect or injury.

Julie Dennis, the event chairperson, is passionate about what they do: “RVR is 100 percent donation driven. There is not one paid person. One hundred percent of the money goes to the care of the animals. We take in horses that really need a rehabilitation program to get them back up to where they should be. When they are cleared, then they are adopted out to loving homes.”

Last year, during the peak of the pandemic, RVR Horse Rescue put on a similar fundraising event with great turnout, and it is so excited to offer a bigger and better event this year.

With fewer neighborhoods comfortable participating in trick-or-treating, Dennis cannot wait for this spectacular alternative for a worthy cause.

“This year, we’re going to have the horses and lots of decor. We have two barns where the kids will trick or treat through to see horses and get candy. We will have areas for games and craft stations as well,” said Dennis.

There will even be miniature horse ambassadors walking around to greet children and families. There’s sure to be fun for the entire family, and, of course, lots of candy.

All the proceeds of the event will go to feeding and boarding the horses, buying hay/medications, making appointments with veterinarians/farriers and caring for the grounds/equipment. And what RVR is doing is working. Dennis has seen one success story after the next, and she knows personally what a wonderful nonprofit this is. Her horse was a rescue who overcame multiple injuries in the six months he spent at RVR. She is so excited about one horse in particular. Visitors will be able to meet one of its most popular horses, Mr. T.

After his owner passed away, family members discovered him emaciated, living off the grass and dew in his paddock. His organs were almost at the point of failure, and the veterinarian who had been treating him was doubtful he would survive. Fast forward in time, and that very low-energy, low-key horse is now gaining weight, gaining strength and thriving. His bloodwork came back perfect, and even the vet has never seen such a turnaround. He’s looking forward to meeting and loving on all the children and families.

Gates will open at 4:30 p.m., and there will be a cash-only $10 donation per carload. There will also be snacks and merchandise available for purchase, cash or credit. The event will end at 6:30 p.m. For more information on how you can donate or volunteer, visit RVR Horse Rescue is located at 1710 W. SR 60 in Plant City.

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