SEBASTOPOL, Calif. (Leigh Martinez/KTVU) - A horse rescue ranch is in desperate need of financial and volunteer help to care for horses newly homeless after the North Bay wildfires.
Well Trained Horses nonprofit rescue rehabilitates and finds homes for surrendered or rescued horses, but after the Tubbs and Nuns Fires spread through the region and destroyed thousands of homes, the rescue has found more horses and less homes for them.
“It’s sometimes great to have horses or animals or dogs, something you have to get out of bed for, but if you’re struggling to put your life back together, it’s not the time for some of the families to keep horses and they’re asking for help," said Director Susan Jan Hornstein.
Hornstein lost her own home in Coffey Park and said that several long-time volunteers also lost homes and had to relocate out of the area.
Well Trained Horses cares for six horses at its Sebastopol ranch, but after the fires it set up satellite pastures around the North Bay. Hornstein said she was recently asked to take in two horses from a fire victim.
"They’re boarded somewhere that’s safe, but financially and emotionally given looking at rebuilding and finding a place to live, it’s really difficult," said Hornstein of the decision many horse lovers have had to make in the aftermath of the fires.
In Mark West Spring, friends of Hornstein discovered two horses by a burned down house. There is no sign of the owners.
“They had been there, I think, three weeks after the fire and they didn’t even know the horses were there," said Hornstein.
"We’ve sent some hay up and we’ve sent some water troughs up there. We don’t know where the neighbors are right now, but the horses and cattle are being fed.”
Before Well Trained Horses can take in more horses, the rescue itself needs help. The fence posts are weak in several areas.
"We don’t want to put a horse in here and break it," said Hornstein.
The rescue said it needs monetary donations and material donations such as gravel, sand, and rock. Volunteers are also greatly needed according to Hornstein.
“We’re always looking for people who want to do physical work, especially people who have handyman, handywoman skills who can fix the fence and paddocks."
The rescue said that kind of help can go a long way in helping horses rebuild relationships after the wildfires.