Local hay donated to 4-footed fire refugees

In addition to the thousands of people evacuated from the Black Forest Fire in Colorado Springs last week, and the hundreds who lost their homes, an estimated 1,200 horses and other livestock were evacuated and held in temporary facilities.

Although many have been returning home this week, most of their owners lost hay and other resources to feed them.

Horse people and farmers in Mesa County are coming to their rescue with donated hay they are shipping to Colorado Springs through the auspices of the Grand Valley Dressage Society.

Two trailer loads of 300 bales each have already been shipped from Grand Junction, and a third one was being loaded Wednesday, said Jennifer Quigley, the organizer of hay drive. More hay has been sent through GVDS members in Montrose County.

But more is still needed because of the number of animals being fed. “Each of those trailers full of hay lasts less than a day,” she said.  “Right now, they’re feeding about 400 bales a day, according to my contact at the Penrose equestrian center” in Colorado Springs, she said.

While that amount will likely decrease over time, there is still a great need. “They’ve got all summer and into the winter to feed their animals,” Quigley said. “These people have to rebuild their homes and keep their horses alive.”

For some, the donated hay has meant the difference between keeping their horses, and having to sell them, she added.

People in Mesa and Montrose counties aren’t the only ones who have donated hay, other kinds of feed and money to help with evacuated livestock. Horse groups such as the Denver-based Rocky Mountain Dressage Society, of which Grand Valley Dressage Society is a member, have also contributed substantial amounts.

But the donations through Grand Valley Dressage Society have been significant, and they have come from many individuals, some leaving just a couple of bales at a time, with others providing large amounts.

“Badger Creek Ranch in Loma donated 177 bales for the first load,” Quigley said. “And we’ve had big donations of time from different people. Diamond Rose Ranch, a horse hotel in Palisade, donated about 24 hours for loading and driving trucks.”

In addition, Stephanie Soule of Rancho del Soule Dressage provided space for the storage and loading of the hay. If you are interested in donating good-quality hay, call Quigley at 640-3726 or drop it off at Rancho del Soule, 819 24 Road.

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