In recent days, California has been devastated by some of the widest spread and destructive wildfires in the state’s history. Many horses lost their lives. Many people lost their homes. During times like these, it’s important to center ourselves, look at the positive and remember exactly why we, as horse people, are a “rare breed”.
Equestrians Help Each Other
During this tragedy, I have seen an outpouring of support amongst the horse community. Whether it is just kind words to those who are struggling with loss, or volunteers who are willing to drop everything to go and muck stalls, fill water buckets, and even put their own lives in danger in order to help save horses. I have seen people organizing carpools to drive into the heart of the devastation to do whatever they can to help their fellow equestrians – we may not all know each other by name, but we realize that we are all connected.
Horse People Think of Horses First
This is not to say that horse people value equine lives over other lives, but we do tend to put a focus on rendering aid to our equine friends whenever humanly possible. In one viral video, a woman who was racing from an approaching fire line with horse trailer in tow, stopped along the side of the road, with ash and smoke making her barely visible to catch and load a horse who was on the side of the road. She had her own horse in the trailer, but she stopped so that she could save the life of another horse. This is thinking of horses first.
Horse People Will Give You the Shirt Off Their Back…Or the Banamine From Their Boxes
Let’s face it, the things we need to keep our horses healthy and safe are expensive. It’s not easy to keep a well-stocked safety or “drug box”, and these things aren’t always easy to come by – you have to talk to your veterinarian, have a prescription, etc. In and emergency situation, though, I have never known a horse person to not offer up anything that they may have if another horse person needs it. I have opened my tack room and my wallet for countless horse friends, barn mates, and even strangers at horse shows when the situation calls for it. Horse people will give you the shirts off of their backs.
Horse People Watch Out for Horse People
It’s terribly sad, but there are those people who will capitalize on terrible situations. There were several reports of people who were going into evacuation zones and posing as “rescues” in order to steal horses during the recent tragedy. However, the horse community is tight – we watch out for people. Never have I seen a more dedicated and detailed outpouring of information on social media regarding those people who may be taking advantage of a bad situation, about locations of fire lines, locations of evacuation areas, etc., than I have during this most recent tragedy in California. Our community came together because we care about each other.
In the end, sometimes it takes a tragedy to show what a group of people are capable of. When things look the darkest and it seems as though a situation can’t get any worse, it’s important to focus on the positives of how people come together to help one another and offer support. Take comfort in knowing that there are good people in the world, and that as horse people, we have a passion for doing whatever we can to help our friends in times of need.
Horse Nation compiled a list of ways you can continue to help our fellow equestrians dealing with the fires in Southern California. Click the link to get more information.
Cover photo credit and edit: Sharon Jantzen