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This afternoon I went to Oaks to check Haps horses had been sent directly
“The place is stuffed to the gills and
on horses we had transported there. from Harrisburg and arrived with all
we look a bit like Noah’s Ark,” said
What a refreshing time in the middle of their equipment and Lisa, his right hand
Robert Ridland as he came by to check
destruction. Hundreds of volunteers person. Stacks of show equipment sat
on everyone. “It is so gratifying to see
taking care of the horses, community in front of their stalls while Lisa took
everyone work so closely together!
groups pitching in and doing whatever care of his horses BUT then she went
When all this started we went out of
was needed, show people using their down the aisle and found two horses
our way to make sure it would be a safe
skills to direct and communicate to the in one stall where someone’s father had
place in the wind and we could hold
hundreds of displaced horse owners. loaded them up and dropped them off
all this together. Monday it became
to safety. He left a note that said “Please evident we were safe and then the lines
feed them alphalalpha” in an effort to started. All night long the road in was a
keep them safe. He then drove back to stream of lights on trailers with horses
San Diego and work while Lisa cleaned and other stock.”
their stalls and gave them fresh water. RJ Brandes was there and had a lot
Someone picked up two horses in to say, “It was a fairly easy transition
Haps yard and took them to safety but since we have such large shows here.
no one knew who or where. Since these At first we thought we would only
were two of Haps special old retired be a secondary location for the State,
horses, we all got a little panicked until but that quickly changed. It became
Hap flew in and went to his house and evident we were in the mist of this
got a phone recording that the horses and a safe haven for our friends and
were safe in Lakeside, picked up by a local horseman. It became a natural
stranger who happened to see them at extension into a place where horses
the house as the fires raged nearby. could get proper care in a terrible time
Arsia Ardalan evacuated his Valley of emergency. Julie Ryan, Janet Fall
Center place and had to leave the mares and Charlene Guarriello have been
and foals of Joan Irvine’s, all lose in the instrumental in the organization.”
huge pastures so they could be safe in “We supplied all the feed and
spite of the situation. Paul Hannett bedding we had on hand from the
“All night long
and Ali Nilforushan arrived with their shows and then the State kicked in
horses in tow, Michelle Parker, Philip and has provided much more,” he
the road in was a
Cillis, Penny Wahler, Jen Hannick, continued. “We are beginning to work
stream of lights on
Jasmine Stair and so many others, all out the answers for those who will have
fleeing the fire. nowhere to go when this is over. Some
trailers with horses In the back ground, Circus Vargas was of the farms are gone and the horses
and other stock.”
quietly working away setting up their are stranded. It is really our objective
tents for a performance this weekend. to provide care and shelter for them
RJ Brandes laughed and said that could and that ALL the horses go home in as
be our entertainment for Saturday good, if not better, shape as they were
night, there were certainly enough of when they arrived. It’s the least we can
us to fill the house. A humorous note do for horseman in trouble.”
at a time when tension needed to be As the sun sets, someone turned on
diverted! a radio and several dozen people came
SCART (Surf City Animal Rescue and sat on bales of hay and together
Team) was there checking on all the quietly watched the evening turn into
horses and owners and making sure night. Tomorrow they will get up and
shipping drivers had something cold face another day of not knowing if
to drink. There were about six of them their homes and farms will be there at
who were breaking up carrots and the end of this.
cutting up apples for the owners to For me it was a privilege pitching in
come and get for the stock. Laughing and helping. It was an honor to walk
and talking and making light of a bad among the giants today at the Oaks/
situation helped relieve the pressure. Blenheim as they went about the work
Trucks arriving with hay and shavings, of keeping each other’s horses safe and
family vans coming with sodas/water healthy. It is humbling to know that in at
Page 42: Right: The scale of the fires in
least a dozen other evacuation facilities
Southern California is evident from space.
and ice, mothers bringing muffins and
Photo courtesy of NASA
cookies, companies bringing sandwiches the same thing is going on, all for the
Page 43: Top to Bottom: Bates Top
and fruit. Nonstop donations arriving love of these critters called horses that
Ridge. Cipolla Home. Home on Fire. This
sight was all too common for many.
every minute, both for the animals and touch our hearts.
This Page: Top to Bottom: Evacuations people. Show people mucking stalls At the end of the day, aren’t we
in the streets. Penny Wahler. Llamas
for the local quarter horses/donkeys/ all a lucky brood…YEP WE SURE
in the streets. Robert Ridland and RJ
Brandes. Hap’s Lisa. Burned Truck.
goats…and loving every minute of it! ARE!!!!
48
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