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Volunteers step up to help in Northern California wildfi res—including Horse Expo staff ers


F


ew situations are more terrifying than an oncoming wildfi re seemingly intent on consuming all in its path. October’s


headlines spoke of the loss from California wildfi res that leveled towns and took lives of both people and animals. This year’s fi res were the worst in state history. Insurance data reports that from Oct. 6 to Oct. 25, eight counties in Northern California were hit by a devastating outbreak of wildfi res which led to at least 23 fatalities, burned 245,000 acres and destroyed over 8,700 structures. The California Department of Insurance said that as of Oct. 26, losses reported from 15 major insurers totaled $3.3 billion. When the heat is on, volunteers step up, using what resources are available to assist. In the case of Marcy Goodman, the longtime Project Manager for the Western States Horse Expo, that meant using all means pos- sible to reach people who could help as well as those in need. Even though the major fi res were hun-


dreds of miles away, Goodman knew she had to do something—quickly. Miki Nelsen, owner of Western States Horse Expo, gath- ered staff for ideas and immediately sent an email broachcast to the Horse Expo commu- nity, asking for help for the fi re victims and their animals. “We weren’t asking for money, but were asking people to ‘circle the wagons’, load their trailers, trucks and cars with horse feed, pipe panels, hay, t-posts, fencing wire—everything needed for displaced ani- mals,” said Nelsen. Itemsbegan fl owing in, including dona- tions—two local retailers, Douglas Feed in Granite Bay and Lee’s Feed in Shingle Springs, stepped up and off ered steep dis- counts for people who were taking supplies to the fi res. “These retailers were amazed by the


amount of donations from those who couldn’t travel, but wanted to help,” Nelsen said. “I was overwhelmed by the generosity of people from across the country. They donated tens of thousands of dollars directly to the participating feed stores for this mis- sion.”


Those funds helped pile up needed sup- plies onto a line-up of trailers and trucks, and volunteers went to work. “I cannot emphasize how proud I am of


my staff and their willingness to take action and get into the trenches,” Nelsen said. “I’m also deeply humbled to see that people trusted Western States Horse Expo without question.” Local retailers weren’t the only ones who


reached out. Mary’s Tack and Feed from Del Mar shipped items to the Western States Horse Expo offi ce for fi re victims. Cavallo Horse and Rider shipped a huge amount of new halters from Canada. Masterson Equine Services in Idaho called in a large cash dona- tion to Douglas Feed so trucks could be load- ed with supplies. “A signifi cant number of people who chose


to be anonymous sent donations so we could pick up necessary items,” says Goodman. “The horse community really rallied to help.” Those who showed up with trucks and


trailers included trainer Isidro Espinoza from Loomis, who, along with his wife Amber, organized the loading of supplies and headed the truck caravan to the fi re victims. RAM Trucks reached out, creating a stun-


ning advertisement that asked the “good people of the Ram Nation” to help the fi re victim horses and people—whether still evacuated or returned home. The ad direct- ed people to the Horse Expo offi ce so they could be a part of this incredible eff ort. This community outreach spanned from individ- uals to local and national retailers to a huge corporation. “It shows how much horse people care


about each other,” said Nelsen, who said her team’s initial intention was to send the car- avan of assistance to the ravaged Santa Rosa area. However, those plans changed with a phone call. “I answered the phone, hoping it was


another volunteer,” remembers Marcy. “But it was a woman from the Redwood fi re area in Mendocino County. She was crying, say- ing that all the news headlines and television features were about the Santa Rosa fi res, and


that the horse people in Mendocino were desperate for help.” Plans changed in that moment, and the


caravan of trucks, trailers and cars headed for Mendocino and the Sonoma and Ukiah fairgrounds. “When our ‘horse supply brigade’ arrived,


we were welcomed with open arms,” Marcy said. “It was so apparent that they needed exactly what we had brought and we made sure it got into the right hands. To say it was a heartwarming moment is an understate- ment.


“Horse people are unique in that they not


only have an interest in common, they share a lifestyle and mutual bond that’s almost invincible,” she addded. “That was apparent when people who were simply on a Western States Horse Expo email database responded with such determination and generosity to help fellow horse people in need.” The Western States Horse Expo holds


two events each year. Horse Expo Pomona, which will be held March 9-11, 2018 at the L.A. COunty Fairplex, and the Sacramento event scheduled June 8-10 at Cal Expo.


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