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The unique bond between people and horses is Fran Judd’s passion, and Renaissance Healing & Learning Center in Cotati is both a small business and a labor of love. Fran is a physical therapist and therapeutic riding instructor with a certificate in hippotherapy (physical and occupational therapy that uses horses for healing). With her stable of six trained horses, she provides equine therapy to children and adults with special needs throughout the Bay Area.

Until Covid-19, Fran spent her days guiding clients through interactions with horses that improve their strength and coordination while building trust and self-confidence. When the pandemic hit, she had to tell her clients that in-person visits weren’t safe for the time being.

But the horses still had to eat, and staff needed to be paid to exercise them. There were vet bills as well, and rent on the stable was due, and Fran suddenly had no income to meet these needs. That’s when she turned to Hebrew Free Loan.

“Getting a Hebrew Free Loan made the difference between disaster and survival. I don’t know how I would have kept things going without their help.”

With our interest-free Coronavirus Impact loan, Fran was able to cover her costs for three months, while she waited for assistance from the Small Business Administration to come through and for things to start opening up.

It’s still not back to normal at Renaissance Healing & Learning Center, and may not be for a while. Fran has just begun to see a few clients at widely spaced intervals, and she’s expanded her offerings with by-appointment-only visits for families to reduce stress by spending time with the horses.

“I’m so grateful for Hebrew Free Loan. Their support let me take a deep breath and know I could take care of the horses while I figured out a way through this pandemic.”