23 Sep The Elvenstar Family Loves the Community (Part 2 of 2)
In July of this year, California’s open space once again met devastation from a wildfire. Elvenstar and their trainers, with a history of helping others, stepped up to lend a helping hand to whomever needed assistance evacuating or stabling their horses. As much as they wanted to immediately jump into action, they knew that they had to have a plan in order to keep themselves and the horses safe. “It’s never a good idea to start out in a trailer without having an idea of where you are going, how many horses you need to evacuate or which roads are safe to pass through. We made a lot of phone calls trying to figure where we were needed,” recalls trainer Kay Altheuser.
Kay further mentioned that the trainers managed to stay calm despite the many dangers present from this crisis. “It’s always scary as the winds change and not knowing if the area is truly safe. We rely on firemen and law enforcement officers to give us good, reliable information to work from. Your nerves really kick in as you listen to the planes and helicopters flying overhead amidst all the smoke and sirens. For us however the most unnerving part was not knowing if we would be able to get all the horses out. When we volunteered to help, all we could think about was getting the horses out and it just seems natural that animal lovers all want to help each other. We know that there are situations where people simply don’t have the means to evacuate during some of these fires. It’s heartwarming to see the very long line of trailers waiting to help people they don’t even know. Just knowing other animals were at risk was enough to bring the whole equestrian community together and Elvenstar definitely wanted to return the favor from all the help they received after the Simi Valley fire in 2003.”
Elvenstar, and the entire horse community continue to learn about safety from incidents like these. “We live in a very dry area that is known for severe fires, so being prepared is the best safety measure you can take. Personally, I think larger barns in particular may not be as well prepared as Elvenstar for evacuations of this sort. Little things like having enough halters, tagging your horses, or getting information from the trailer drivers can make all the difference in an emergency situation.”
Even though every stable needs to have a system in place to maximize safety, it’s so rewarding to live in a community where we can depend on each other as well. “The sight of so many trailers being filled with horses able to evacuate during a fire makes us feel relieved that we can depend on the help of others. People volunteer at the evacuation centers, feed stores donate extra feed, family and friends step up and assist in whatever way they can. We know our efforts will be successful when we have this type of involvement and in the end we’re so glad to be a part of it.”