VICTORIA -- Tally-Ho Carriage Tours has been an iconic part of Victoria for 117 years. But, on March 19 they had to temporarily close their doors due to COVID-19.

It’s been two months since the horse drawn tours stopped and just over a month since the company started a GoFundMe campaign hoping to raise money to help the family-owned company keep their 18 draft horses fed, sheltered and cared for.

Their initial goal of $120,000 has since been revised to $95,000 after receiving several donations behind the scenes along with a significant donation of hay from an anonymous donor in the community.

The donated 100 round bails of hay will feed the horses for three to four months.

The outpouring of generosity from the community has been overwhelming says Donna Friedlander, the owner and operator of Tally-Ho Carriage Tours,

“It’s been really, really heartwarming. I can’t thank the community enough for the support of these horses,” she said.

“It has been amazing. it’s truly inspiring and awing how many fans the horses have.”

Even with generous donations like the hay and neighbours offering up a field for the horses to graze in, Friedlander says the company expects at least another year of little to no income because of COVID-19.

She says tourism will be slow to pick up in the foreseeable future, making it difficult to plan ahead.

Meanwhile, the company is working on other creative ways to raise money, like virtual horse adoptions on their website where people can pick their favourite horse and sponsor them through the next little while.

“We are looking at ways of trying to bring people to the horses,” said Friedlander. “Maybe we can’t get the horses to downtown Victoria but maybe there’s a way in the future where we can actually bring the horses and the people together still.”

Friedlander says that the horses are doing well right now. But, they may be a little confused as to why they aren’t working.

In the meantime, the company is doing their best to entertain and exercise the horses.

“They are work horses so they need something to do,” said Friedlander. “We will be back out, these horses love what they do and we love what we do.”

Donations to Tally-Ho’s GoFundMe campaign can be made online here.

Further information on the horses can be found at Tally-Ho’s website here

Meanwhile, another longstanding Victoria organization has received an outpouring of support from the community amid the pandemic..

A GoFundMe campaign that was launched to help care for animals at the Beacon Hlil Children’s Farm has surpassed its fundraising goal.

The farm’s initial target of $18,000 has been dwarfed by the $33,000 raised so far.

According to the children’s farm, it costs around $6,000 a month to feed, shelter and take care of the animals, not including staffing costs.

The operators of the farm say they are overjoyed by the community’s generosity.

The original goal was meant to get the farm through three months of closure. The extra donations will now go towards helping the children’s farm through a longer shutdown period if need be.

However, owners of the Beacon Hill Children’s Farm say that the donations will likely not be enough to get them through the end of the season, or even to winter.

The farm relies heavily on donations from visitors while they are open from spring through fall. With so much uncertainly around COVID-19 and safety protocols and restrictions, they are not sure what the future will hold. The farm may have to increase their GoFundMe goal to keep its goats, lamas and many other animals fed and housed.

Staff say they are grateful for what the community has donated so far.

“It was so touching with all the people being generous and helping a lot,” said Claudia Laube, farm manager.

Laube says the farm will be updating both its website and GoFundMe campaign in the coming days to reflect their current needs.

Donations to the Beacon Hill Children’s Farm’s GoFundMe campaign can be made online here.

Further information can be found at the farm’s website here.