Hold Your Horses, There Was a Fire

Emma Trueba, Staff Writer

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A combination of dry brush, a single spark, and gusts of hot wind is a recipe for a fiery disaster. On Monday, October 11th, these conditions were met, and not only were the hillsides scorched, but the homes of thousands of people and animals were put in danger. As the fire spread to Anaheim Hills, thousands of people were evacuated from their homes, with only enough time to worry about taking the most important items. Horse owners and riders alike dropped everything in order to secure their horses’ safety as this wave of smoke and fire threatened to ignite Peacock Hills Equestrian Center, where about 150 horses were boarded.


While people are able to leave their homes whenever they please, horses are not as fortunate. They depend on people to make sure that they are safe and well. With the blaze approaching Peacock Hills Equestrian Center, volunteers, riders, and horse owners evacuated hundreds of horses to the nearby Albertson’s parking lot. Some people were even walking with two or three horses at a time to get them away from the flames as quickly as possible.  “[We] raced over there as fast as we could,” said Sophomore Cambria Cox. “We just brought the horses up to the shopping center.” With the horses safe from the fire, they were sent to six different facilities until the damage caused from the fire could be repaired.


By the time the firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze, there was irreparable damage done to the Peacock Hills Equestrian Center. The center extends over 500 acres and has three different training centers for their riders. The facilities are Country Trails and Riding School, a jumping facility, and another facility called Les Cheval. After the fire came over the hill, Les Cheval caught fire and was completely burned down by the time the fire was extinguished. Tack, feed, and barns that housed the horses were all gone in a matter of minutes as the fire spread throughout the camp. Even though Country Trails Riding School was not affected by the fire, there is still lots of repair work to do in the up and coming months.


The riders and trainers at the Peacock Hills Equestrian Center are rebuilding from scratch, but they cannot do it by themselves.  At Peacock Hills, riders and trainers are more than just teammates or mentors: they are family. Sophomore Anna Lewandowski, who has ridden at Peacock Hills for four years stresses, “Just to see it [the Peacock Hills Equestrian Center] burn down is like watching your own house burn down.” At Peacock Hills Equestrian Center, the sense of community is so strong that everyone is connected in some way, whether it is through competing on the same field or riding the same horse. After the fire took the everything away, they lost their safe haven. In regards to what people can do to help the equestrian center, Kimberly Evensen says, “Anything helps because we just desperately need to take care of our animals. That’s all we care about.”


Several GoFundMe pages have been set up for donations to rebuild the structures and replace the equipment that were lost in the fire. The riders and horse owners at Peacock Hills Equestrian Center lost everything in the fire and all they want is to get back to horse riding.

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