Rescue horses moved to safety from Embleton Wildfire | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Rescue horses moved to safety from Embleton Wildfire

A herd of horses at Epona Rise Retreat Center in Heffley Creek. The horses were moved due to wildfire activity earlier this week.
Image Credit: Hillary Schneider
July 17, 2021 - 2:30 PM

When the Embleton Mountain Fire broke out across the road from a herd of rescue horses in Heffley Creek on July 10, their owner had to make an important decision.

Hillary Schneider is the founder and owner of Epona Rise Retreat Center, which is home to 28 horses. Most of the horses are rescues and eight of them are seniors.

“We are just across the road from the Embleton Mountain Fire,” Schneider said. “We got an evacuation alert on Sunday and I made the decision to move the horses on Monday. Because we have a herd, we have to think ahead, it takes time to move them. Some rescue horses panic when loading and unloading.”

The horses are staying at the Barriere Fair Grounds, with the eight senior horses staying on a nearby farm. Schneider and staff have been driving out to check on them every morning, while volunteers help care for them. She says it would have been more stressful to keep them at home close to an unpredictable wildfire.

“Horses live in the present and they are calm here and all together,” she said. “They have food and water and each other. There are people helping us and checking on them.”

While the horses would typically be out grazing at this time of the year, they are currently in need of hay at their temporary home on the fairgrounds. Schneider created a gofundme page to help support the costs of hay, transport and gas.

“I have to say we started it because people were asking how to help,” Schneider said. “People have also been giving to us privately. Typically we would be hosting retreats right now, it is our busiest time of the year, so there is financial insecurity. I can’t haul the herd back until the fire is contained.”

Hillary and her staff say they are grateful and blown away by the generosity they are receiving from others.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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