Memorial Day 2015 will be long remembered in Central Texas and here at Healing with Horses Ranch.
After weeks of daily rains and very usual creek flooding, we experienced an "epic" flood. Manor only received about an inch of rain, but just north of us received 5 inches of rain. We were certainly going to flood, but our barn is a foot above the 100 year flood plain. We would be safe.
At 5pm, the creek started to go over it's banks. Pretty normal. By 5:45 the creek flooding was at its normal heavy flood stage. By 6:45, the arena was under water. A sight I have never seen or never expected to see!
The horses were in their stalls. I needed to go get them out of their stalls so that they could seek higher ground or at very least not get stuck in the stalls! The water was now up to my knees on the driveway and stalls! Not knowing what to expect, I opened the gates of the fields and made sure that the entry gate was latched. I thought I would put the horses in the barn. By the time I secured the horse feed, there was a foot of water in the barn and the horses had left me. I discovered later that they did indeed find high ground. Having never experienced this level of flooding in the 3 years that we have been here, I was fearful of the unknown! And I was alone and trapped in the barn now.
4 dear friends were determined to rescue John and I and the horses, but 973 was closed. Water was over the road and they were not allowed to come down. We were safe. Our house truly was on an island! Once we get a gate on our driveway, we will have another high ground area for the horses!
By 11:15, the water started receding and did so rather quickly. I was able to cross the driveway to find that the horses did find high ground and were comfortably munching on their round bale! I closed the gate now that I knew that they were safe and was finally able to return to the house. The flood plan really did work!
In the morning, we awoke to the arena being washed out and the stalls and mats were mostly gone. The ramp had washed into the middle of what used to be the arena. The barn was full of mud since there had been 1 1/2' of water in there! Clean up must begin! Ughh!
Thanks to so many people we are making quick work of a hard job. We had to cancel lessons for a week, but our volunteers came out and power washed the barn. We collected all of the feed pans, water buckets, panels, mats, and railroad ties that had washed away! The horses blankets were washed, dried, and moved to the loft. Files were dried and refiled. Saddles were all cleaned and conditioned by the Austin School for the Deaf middle school students. The refrigerator, dryer, and office computer were fixed. A dell group came out and moved the ramp back to where it belongs and rebuilt the arena and east campus fencing. The Wranglers gathered up all of the rail road ties and mats that were way heavy! Another Dell group came out and fixed the West campus arena and perimeter fencing. By Saturday, our classes resumed! The arena was still a mess, but we muddled through until we could raise the arena with 1' of road base and sand and mulch for improved footing!
I am so excited to announce the growth of Healing with Horses Ranch!
Please welcome to the staff of Healing with Horses Ranch our new Program Director, Lori Seeds-Martin and our new Equine Manager, Sarah Shilhavy.
In addition, we officially have 4 instructors-in-training, Crystal Merkel, Davina Merkel, Sarah Shilhavy, and Libby Hallett! They will be going for their certification the first week of August!
Lori will be working on program grants in collaboration with Lauren. She will also be working on assessments for each of our programs and starting a family preservation program! Eventually she will be managing all of the instructors, but since they will be needing mentoring for some period we will transition that over in the next 6 months or so. She will also be managing all aspects of programs, so volunteer coordinator and equine manager will be reporting to the program director.
Sarah is the part-time equine manager. She will be ensuring that the horses are fed 2X's per day and will be managing their health, so she will be helping the farrier and vet when needed. She will also be managing the conditioning team and conditioning of the horses as well as the documentation of all horse related items! This will be a huge time saver for me, so I am excited that Sarah has joined the team. When she becomes an instructor (in Aug) her hours will increase to full time sot hat she will also be taking some of the load of my teaching off of me!
We are establishing a solid base of support for our increasing growth with strong passionate team players! I am so excited for this opportunity and I get to work with some of the most amazing people that I have ever met!