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Anonymous woman steps forward and helps Champ’s Heart in a big way

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IDAHO FALLS — Champ’s Heart is back in business, thanks to an anonymous local woman who’s providing a place for the nonprofit to continue its services.

The organization offers horse encounters for children who are facing cancer, disabilities or other challenges, their families and veterans. Champ’s Heart was based out of the North Bingham County Historical Park in Shelley but left at the end of July due to lease issues and complaints made to animal control.

RELATED: Champ’s Heart looking for a new place to call home after leaving Shelley

“We had no place to go when we were going to leave (Shelley),” Larry Cudmore, founder of Champ’s Heart, told EastIdahoNews.com. “I didn’t know if we were going to shut it down, and different people said, ‘We’re not letting you shut it down.'”

One of the volunteers with Champ’s Heart told Cudmore she has a friend with an arena that wasn’t being used. Cudmore found out the woman, who insists on remaining anonymous, is the owner of 11N Farm located at 7201 N. 45th E. in Idaho Falls.

Cudmore and the property owner met and discussed the possibility of Champ’s Heart using her arena and land. Cudmore said she’s been “sitting in a cocoon for 10 years” after her husband, daughter and a friend all passed away within a short amount of time of each other.

“Her reluctance to do this at first was, ‘I’ve been sitting here. I live off the road. There’s nobody around. I’ve got to think this through because all of a sudden, there’s going to be a lot of people coming,'” Cudmore recalls her explaining. “I gave her time to think that through, and she came to peace with that.”

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Some of the horse pens located outside the arena. | Courtesy Larry Cudmore

Cudmore said her arena is the “perfect size” for Champ’s Heart, and the facility still smells new even though it’s been vacant for roughly a decade. There’s an outdoor area where volunteers can walk with the children, and he estimates there are about 10 pens and at least 15 acres of pasture.

“The horses are all running in a pasture now and kicking up their heels, and enjoying the freedom they didn’t have all summer in Shelley because the pens were pretty confining,” he said.

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The inside of the arena that Champ’s Heart will be using. | Courtesy Larry Cudmore

Cudmore feels it’s a blessing to continue helping those in need through Champ’s Heart. He knows after taking the month of August off to move everything to the new location, it was hard for the children to be away from the horses. He is looking forward to the kids coming back and getting on a schedule.

“I know they’re excited to start again,” Cudmore said. “I’m so glad (this woman) said yes to this. The place is ideal.”

Champ’s Heart will open at its new location on Sept. 9. To respect the privacy of the property owner, Cudmore said Champ’s Heart will only be open Thursdays and Saturdays. Fridays will be reserved for veterans.

The nonprofit is also putting together a group of people who are taking on the task of finding property for the future of Champ’s Heart.

Monetary donations are being accepted through Venmo @Larry-Cudmore. Champ’s Heart will be at the Eastern Idaho State Fair giving away fly fishing trips and the public can win the opportunity to spend time with the horses.

For more information on the nonprofit, visit its website or Facebook page.

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A Champ’s Heart sign pointing which direction to go. | Courtesy Larry Cudmore
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The arena that Champ’s Heart will be using to continue providing healing horse encounters. | Courtesy Larry Cudmore

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