Feel Good Sunday Part II: Horse born with no ears defies the odds to happy life at rescue center

By Lauren Fruen as published on StoryTrender

“Many thanks to our good friend Jerry Finch of Habit for Horses for turning us onto this delightful story.  Job well done, guys.” ~ R.T.


“A horse born with no ears is loving life at Habitat for Horses

Pia, five, was born missing her right lobe completely and with a stump on the left side of her head.

Studies have shown that horses use their ears to communicate and talk to their equine friends.

They are understood to use the subtle movements to talk and they are so important that if its ears are covered up another horse struggles to know what it is thinking.

But Pia – who could have struggled to be part of the herd – is living a happy life among other horses at rescue center Habitat for Horses.

She was rescued along with 11 other horses and vets believe she was born without her ears.

photo courtesy of HfH

Spokesman for Habitat for Horses, Amber Barnes, said: “She is completely missing her ear on the right side and only has a deformed nub on the left.

“She does seem to have some hearing out of the left deformed nub. It looks as though her ears are pinned back.

“Horses use their ears a lot to communicate with one another and we humans usually watch horse ears to better understand what they are communicating.

“Not having ears can be pretty problematic for a horse. Without them, interactions can be more difficult.

“The vets aren’t positive about the origin of Pia’s condition. We believe it may be a congenital defect, meaning she was born with it.

“Looking at a horses ear position and tail position can tell you if they are listening, relaxed, nervous, scared.

“Often, if a horse’s ears are pinned back they aren’t too happy so if you were to look at Pia, you might think she is pretty unhappy as it looks as though her ears are pinned back.

“However, Pia does an impressive job holding her own among the other horses. We don’t have to keep her separate.

“Some horses that live in particularly cold climates may suffer frostbite and lose parts of their ears. A newly born foal could lose their ears mostly to frost bite.

“However, the vet believes Pia’s condition is congenital and she was born with only the deformed nub of an ear and no ear on the other side.

“Pia doesn’t seem too concerned about her condition and she has lived with a group of horses for years without many issues.

“She can really hold her own in the herd and I think other horses who live with her read the rest of her body language and determine her tone effectively.

“A new horse may have some trouble but would likely learn pretty quickly to understand her.”

More than 130,000 signatures to ban cruel horse evisceration fiesta in Yucatan

from Humane Society International/Mexico

Mexico City—More than 130,000 people are joining with Humane Society International Mexico in calling for a ban of Torneo del Lazo, a horse evisceration spectacle in Yucatan, Mexico.

Torneo del Lazo is a bloody and archaic spectacle that takes place throughout the year in various Yucatán municipalities. In it, horses are chased, severely injured and often killed by bulls. When the bulls attack, they usually wound the horses by gutting them. Horses experience a long and painful death in front of crowds that frequently include children as spectators.

Join us in calling for this cruelty to end.

Humane Society International launched a petition campaign to garner public opposition to the event and has been pressing for an amendment to the Yucatan Animal Protection Law to explicitly ban this horrible practice. The group delivered the 130,000 signatures in favor of banning Torneo del Lazo to the Congress President and to the Chair of the of the Environment Committee of Yucatan Congress.

Anton Aguilar, HSI Mexico director said: “95 percent of Mexicans oppose animal cruelty and believe people who harm animals should be penalized. It is particularly troubling that children are exposed to the mayhem and suffering involved. As a major touristic destination, Yucatán should not allow animal cruelty to damage the State’s image and harm the tourism industry. We urge Yucatan Congress to take a compassionate stance against this cruel tradition and reform the Yucatán Animal Protection Bill to explicitly outlaw Torneo del Lazo.” Take action now to help.

http://www.hsi.org/world/mexico/news/press-releases/2018/02/call-to-ban-torneo-del-lazo-020618.html

Tiniest Horse With Dwarfism Doesn’t Care That He’s A Little Different

By as published on The Dodo

He was so small when he was rescued that he had to ride on someone’s lap on the drive home.


“Years ago, my wife Terry, Leslie Anne Webb and I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Munchie when he first came to live with Rebecca Williams of Habitat for Horses…he is quite a guy.!” ~ R.T.


Mini horse with dwarfism staring at larger horses through a fence
Woman kissing mini horse on the nose
Two miniature horses eating grass and flowers
Children petting miniature horse
Mini horse playing with ball
Closeup photo of mini horse
Woman feeding two mini-horses in pasture
Miniature horse touching noses with another horse
Miniature horse with hair braided
Woman in wheelchair petting miniature horse
Miniature horse saying hello to larger horses

‘From Wild to World Champion’: A New Song About Cobra the Mustang

Story by as published on Horse Nation

A country song telling the true story of how a three-strikes mustang became a dressage champion, with a music video starring the actual horse and trainer themselves? YES PLEASE!


“Although we would prefer to have seen Cobra live out his life, naturally, on his rightful range it warms ones heart to see someone take a chance, step forward and save this ‘3 Strikes’ pony from further abuse and possible slaughter.  A true love story and a definite tissue alert is warranted.  Thanks to all who made this tribute to a magical rescue possible.  May God bless.” ~ R.T.


As someone who is attempting to bring a mustang up the levels in dressage, one of my biggest inspirations is Marsha Hartford-Sapp and her mustang Cobra. After being returned to the BLM three times, he was deemed unadoptable: a three-strikes horse. In 2010 Marsha selected Cobra as her Extreme Mustang Makeover horse after seeing a 15-second video of his lovely, uphill movement.

Cobra turned out to be a dressage natural, winning Adequan/USDF All-Breed Award Reserve Champion title for First Level in his first year of competition. He has gone on to achieve great things as a dressage horse, most notably 2015 all-breed champion for Prix St. George. 2015 was also the year he discovered western dressage and earned western dressage champion for level 1 freestyle and level 1 test 1.

Cobra’s story inspired country artist Peter Prince to write a song telling the tale of how this unlikely horse went from wild to world champion. If this song and the accompanying music video doesn’t give you the feels, you’re a monster.

Go Cobra! Go riding!

Congratulations to Fleet of Angels, & founder Elaine Nash, on receiving the ASPCA Equine Welfare Award!

Congratulations to our friend, Elaine Nash, and to the entire Fleet of ANGELS!  Elaine has been our guest on Wild Horse & Burro Radio to talk about the work being done by Fleet of Angels.  Elaine was most recently involved with helping with the evacuation of horses from the massive fires in Southern California.  Our thanks to Elaine, and to ALL of the angels in the Fleet of Angels, for your very important work.

Source: Newsline

Elaine Nash: photo: facebook

FLEET OF ANGELS RECEIVES PRESTIGIOUS EQUINE AWARD FROM ASPCA

Equine protection organization Fleet of Angels honored for saving 907 starving and neglected horses from one location

– the largest rescue of horses in history –

and in the same year FOA ‘angels’ evacuated hundreds of horses from the paths of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

Elaine Nash and Fleet of Angels (FOA), the equine protection organization she launched, have been honored with the first ever Equine Welfare Award from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

Late last year, Nash was asked by the State of South Dakota to create and run a massive national campaign to gather, sort and find homes for hundreds of privately owned horses they’d seized after being determined by South Dakota state vets to be starving and neglected.  The State planned to auction off hundreds more from the same seizure, but Nash was determined to save all 907 horses, so she reached out to other equine welfare organizations to help with the massive rescue.  When the Courts gave full custody of all the horses to Fleet of Angels, Nash and team adopted out hundreds more of the horses out directly from the facility on which they were impounded by authorities, in spite of the work having to be done on an emergency basis during weeks of horrific blizzards and sub-zero conditions. Still hundreds more were transported to Colorado to an adoption hub they established in Fort Collins, CO.

“We had to get those horses to a milder climate”, said Nash.  “With 40 mph winds, temperatures dipping to -40 chill factor, and snow blowing sideways for days at a time, our crew could barely even see the horses to work with them.  It was brutal.  I was indoors on a computer making arrangements, knowing that the ground crew was about to freeze.  And the horses were really suffering in the cold without shelter of any kind.  Dozens had died before we got there to help, and some were so starved and cold that they didn’t make it.”

“Fleet of Angels doesn’t usually take actual custody of the horses we help, since most of the time our members are providing transportation for horses that someone else has rescued.  This case was very different in that we found ourselves with almost 1000 horses to feed, care for, and find homes for- and we didn’t even have a horse facility to take them to when this first happened,” Nash explains. “It was a huge responsibility for us to take on.  It was incredibly tough work for the crew, unbelievably expensive to cover all the costs, and extremely stressful on us all.  It took the help of hundreds of individuals and dozens of organizations to make this mission successful.  People pitched in to donate money and feed, adopt horses, and help us feed and care for the horses.  We all jumped in and did what had to be done to save all these horses.  Fleet of Angels’ mantra is ‘Teamwork works!’ for a reason.”

The project became known as The Hallelujah Horses because the horses involved were all saved from probable slaughter.  Nash, who usually directs and coordinated Fleet of Angels mission from her home office in Colorado, had to be near the horses in South Dakota to oversee the operation and work with adopters, and then relocated to CO when the remain several hundred were taken there, but stayed near the horses. In all, she found herself away from home, staying in country hotels, for 290 days.  With Nash rounding up qualified adopters, and adoption manager Barbara Rasmussen carefully reviewing each adoption applications, most of the horses were adopted out to good homes in just 12 months, setting a second record of becoming the largest and most successful adoption effort of horses in history.  By December, there were only a few horses left that still needed permanent homes.

“We are so appreciative to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for honoring us with the ASPCA Equine Welfare Award, and also for their support throughout this operation,” Nash says. “This is the first equine welfare award that the ASPCA has presented, and those of us at Fleet of Angels are very proud to accept it on behalf of all the rescuers who work so hard to save at-risk horses.”

FOA members were instrumental in evacuating and finding stabling and other services for thousands of horses before and after Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma this year, and they are also currently working to help evacuate and care for at-risk horses in the areas fighting the California wildfires.  FOA is also being praised for developing and releasing an online, searchable Horse Helpers Directory in each disaster-prone region of the country,  making it fast and easy for horse owners facing a natural disaster to connect with rescuers and service providers to protect equines that are at risk of being injured or killed during storms, fires, or floods.

ABOUT FLEET OF ANGELS

Nash founded Fleet of Angels after realizing that more at-risk horses could be saved if there were free or inexpensive transportation for them from where they were, to their forever home. She set up Fleet of Angels as a place where owners of horse trailers could register and be ready to assist those who might need a horse transported from one area to another, or for people who can offer a safe spot for an overnight stop for horses traveling long distances.  That work has evolved into Fleet of Angels becoming one of the largest boots-on-the-ground, or wheels on the road, equine protections organizations in the country.

FOA is the only organization with a national network designed to quickly evacuate equines from the paths of natural disasters, such as hurricanes, wildfires, floods and tornadoes. They can also arrange for stabling and other services until the animals are able to return home.

“I’m so proud of our members and supporters,” Nash says.  “I am the person who runs the organization and coordinates the rescues by phone and internet, but there is no way we could do what we do without a huge amount of help from people all over the United States and Canada.  If you are counting actual staff (we have none), we are a very small organization, but we’re huge in heart and determination, and we have a whole army of people willing to help when called upon to transport at-risk equines from danger to safety.”

Fleet of Angels welcomes others who wish to get involved in the organization, including corporations willing to donate monetary funds to help feed, house and get the horses from place to place. Farmers, ranchers and individual who are interested in rescue efforts of equines are also a valued part of the organization.

ABOUT ELAINE NASH

Elaine Nash grew up on a farm-ranch operation in New Mexico where horses were a major part of her life. She first trained so-called ‘problem horses’ for neighbors while in high school, then worked her way through college while operating her own training stable, and was the first freshman ever crowned Rodeo Queen while in college.  After a 20-year career in Nashville, where she promoted numerous singers and songwriters in the entertainment industry, Nash made the decision to take her son and daughter back to the west so they would be able to live the western lifestyle, and own and ride horses as a part of their growing-up experience in Santa Fe, NM.

Nash later moved to Pagosa Springs, Colorado, and had a facility where she used natural horsemanship to work with her own horses and those of her clients. During this period of time, Nash became active in the world of equine protection. In 2006 she had an accident that caused her to be unable to ride, but she continues to work to help at-risk horses, and considers her work “Paying it forward because of what horses have meant to me throughout my life.”

Nash now lives in Evans, Colorado, where she continues to build the network for Fleet of Angels and oversees its various rescue operations.  She also works to educate people about the crises facing American horses through public speaking engagements, writing articles, and networking on social media.

For more information on Fleet of Angels, go to its website at www.fleetofangels.org.

Fleet of Angeles Horse Helpers Directory website:  https://www.horsehelpersdirectory.com/

The Hallelujah Horses Facebook page: The Hallelujah Horses (907 horses seized from ISPMB).

Donations to The Hallelujah Horses webpage:  www.thehallelujahhorses.com

Article on Fleet of Angels:
http://blog.theanimalrescuesite.com/fleet-of-angels/?utm_source=ars-share&utm_medium=social-fb&utm_campaign=fleet-of-angels&utm_content=share

Hallelujah Geldings that are looking for homes! Photo: Facebook/ Elaine Nash

 

Breaking News: Infamous Horse Eater to Debate on Fox’s Tucker Carlson, TONIGHT

A Scary News Alert: in the most indignant opinion of R.T. Fitch

Update: POS was a no show but claims he was bumped until next week.  Let’s hope the producers realized him to be as dumb as a box of rocks and nixed his misguided moment of infamy.  https://rtfitchauthor.com/2017/12/30/horse-eating-fringe-cult-leader-bumped-from-national-news-show/#comment-205482

According to the poorly written press release, below, it appears that long time, washed-up alleged horse trainer and professed horse eater  Dave “Doink” Duquette has crawled out from underneath his slimy little rock to spew lies and deceit about how wonderful murdering and eating companion animals can be.


PROTECT THE HARVEST’S DAVE DUQUETTE TO GUEST
ON TUCKER CARLSON TONIGHT SHOW
 
Hot equine debate – Friday night – Dec.29, at 8:00pm ET on Fox News
 
Brownsburg, IN. Dec. 28, 2017): Protect The Harvest’s equine expert Dave Duquette will
guest on the Tucker Carlson Tonight Show on Friday night, December 29, at 8:00pm ET. Dave
and Tucker will be talking about why Protect The Harvest (PTH), supports bringing back horse
processing in the United States.
 
Duquette explains on the show that horse processing is an essential part of many nations diets
and used to have a rich history in the United States. The return to horse processing in the US
would mean much higher welfare for horses.
 
Founded by Lucas Oil owner Forrest Lucas, PTH is a 501c3 non-profit formed in 2014 that
seeks to actively inform and communicate with the general public about issues regarding

agriculture, hunting, fishing, and animal ownership.


‘Merry Flippin Christmas to you too Doink.  Bet your mamma is proud of you…Lord knows your hometown is not.’

Dave “Doink” Duquette, alleged horse trainer and known horse eater ~ photo not taken by R.T. Fitch

Yup, according to the release and it has not been verified, Doink will be on Fox’s Tucker Carlson Show at 8 PM Eastern time, tonight, Dec. 29th.  Anyone with half a brain knows that Tucker is pretty handy at publicly making losers look as stupid as they really aspire to be so this may be Doink’s big chance to go on National TV so that his wife and children may never be able to show their faces in Walmart, again.

Doink has been working in the background ever since his equine blood engorged tick of a sidekick, Sue Wallis choked on her own lies several years ago and croaked; Karma made away with her bigot of a husband, too.  I guess there is some sort of mercy in the world that allows the likes of Doink to continue to walk among the living, perhaps it is pity for his young family that might, or might not, look to him for fiscal support.  Moral support and direction from this grade A wiener was lost long ago.

Left – “Doink” Duqquette – DUMB  Right – “Slaughterhouse” Sue Wallis – DEAD

So advocates, we only have  a few hours but let’s politely tweet, email and Facebook the facts to Mr. Tucker Carlson and give him a bit more fuel for a potential ass-chewing tonight.

You can tweet Tucker at: https://twitter.com/TuckerCarlson

Contact on Facebook at:  https://www.facebook.com/TuckerCarlsonTonight/?ref=br_rs

and: https://www.facebook.com/tuckercarlsonFOX/

 

We don’t need the likes of Duquette soiling a season meant to bring cheer and hope…enough is enough.

Videos: Celebrated Comedic Equine Welfare Christmas Videos Reloaded

John Holland, president of the Equine Welfare Alliance and covert owner of Howling Ridge Film and Fertilizer Co., has been entertaining us with equine holiday videos over the years.  But once again this year we are going to be forced to sit back and enjoy the works of years gone by as John, like many others, has been up to his eyeballs in important issues and is making great strides forward for the horses and the donkeys in the real fight on the all too real battlefield; that fight has held precedence over the production of yet another annual Christmas video, as well it should.  Keep up the good works, John and EWA, we are all on the same page and fully support your efforts.  Have a very Merry and Jolly Christmas!” ~ R.T.

Appalachian Christmas Tail (2006)

Christmas Spirit (2006)

A Christmas Legend (2007)

It’s a Wonderful Life (2008)

How the Grinch Stole Equus (2009)

The Christmas List (2010)

All John’s videos can be viewed at the EWA Video Page

Still Time to Help the Horses and Burros for Christmas

Unabashedly I would like to remind all of you that the clock is ticking on ordering our Wild Horse Freedom Federation 2018 Calendars chock full of dozens and dozens of beautiful wild horses photos from our own Carol Walker:

Over 60 beautiful and moving photos by Carol of the wild horses living in the Sand Wash Basin Herd grace this 2018 calendar! From the small foals to the powerful, mature stallions, Carol’s images capture the spirit and beauty of these colorful wild horses in this northwestern Colorado herd.

http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/calendar-of-the-year/

50% of the proceeds are donated directly to Wild Horse Freedom Federation’s work to keep our wild horses and burros free and together on the range.


Carol also has a gorgeous book available for a last minute gift,

Galloping to Freedom: Saving the Adobe Town Appaloosas

During the infamously heartbreaking BLM 2014 Checkerboard Roundup in Wyoming, a chance encounter between a regal wild stallion and acclaimed photographer Carol Walker changes both of their lives forever. The new photo documentary book, Galloping to Freedom: Saving the Adobe Town Appaloosas, is the result of that encounter. In this, the third book for this multiple-award winning author and artist, Walker’s evocative photographs and poignant prose document the story of rescuing the stallion she named Bronze Warrior and his band of mares and offspring from different BLM holding facilities and reuniting them in a place where they could live out their lives together, safe and undisturbed. Like every satisfying animal story, the venture is not without difficulties and sorrows, but ultimately, this is a tale of triumph and joy. And even better: It is true.

Aged horses such as Bronze Warrior (22 when he is captured) usually are the last to be adopted and therefore are the most likely to spend their remaining years in cramped BLM pens without their families. Especially concerned for this gallant stallion and his band, Walker reaches out to Manda Kalimian of the Cana Projects for help; the two share Thoreau’s belief that “in wildness is the preservation of the world.” Together, these two staunch and vocal wild horse advocates win over even the BLM bureaucracy to the effort. Susan Watt, of the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, is the third “Reunion Team” member.

The story is, by turns, nerve-wracking and frustrating, thrilling and surprising, charming, heart-warming and delightful. The captivating photographs likewise offer a widely ranging emotional journey, from touching to powerful. In combination, the images and story build to a victorious resolution. By journey’s end, one is struck by the horses’ timeless elegance and dignity, whether enduring a brutal holding facility or soaring in spirited freedom. One is equally moved by the dogged perseverance of the humans in the story.

So, Reader, beware: This book might change your own life forever.

Galloping to Freedom: Saving the Adobe Town Appaloosas features over 200 of Carol’s full color photographs in perfect binding, equally suitable for coffee table browsers, fine art photography admirers, or the libraries of serious equine science students. Appendices offer information on wild horse advocacy efforts, Cana Projects, and the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary.

137 pages hard cover with dust jacket, large format full color book, including over two hundred of Carol’s incredibly moving wild horse photos. With Foreword by Steve Israel, Member of Congress.
Only $39.95 US + s&h

http://www.wildhoofbeats.com/products/galloping-to-freedom


Our book is still in print around the world:

Straight from the Horse’s Heart: A Spiritual Ride through Love, Loss, and Hope by new author R. T. Fitch is an altogether special book that sows more than a few wild oats of goodness, inspiration, and heart. This thoughtful and endearing collection of thirty distinct and timeless vignettes is rich and wise. Whether it is the rescue of a missing pony after a hurricane near the Gulf of Mexico or the heartfelt whinny of an abused horse in Nigeria, the author composes beautiful and poetic images on life. While this book’s significance is universal, animal and horse lovers are especially in for a treat as loss, turmoil, and grief are intertwined with heroic tales of survival and human empathy. With titles such as “I Sit in Wonder,” “She Stole My Heart,” and “Whispers in the Night,” on these pages is love and symmetry. This collection showcases the contemplative places of the heart, which we are able to learn from his four-legged friends, if we take time to listen closely enough.


And our good friend Alex Brown has authored yet another book which I wrote a review for his behalf:

“Missionville ~ A Mission I was reluctant to accept…

Missionville was an extremely difficult, initial read for me. Knowing all too well the underbelly of horse racing and seeing my own fair share of backside tracks and auctions I was not motivated to delve into this story of a ‘sport’ I have little taste for; several survivors of said sport reside behind our home and bring us great joy just being horses and friends.

But with a twist of the tale and turn of the word Alex Brown brings life, love and humanity to his story as he artfully supplies the reader with a most important compelling vision that we rarely see, and that shared gift is one of hope.

A true must read for those who have both saved horses from the kill pen and those who love to experience the vision of those great Thoroughbreds thundering down the track to yet another victory. Missionville truly has a soul.” ~ R.T. Fitch


So there are plenty of equine related goodies that speak directly to the heart of every American and could make a significant difference is someone’s life.

Merry Christmas , Many Thanks and Happy Shopping.

Feel Good Sunday (video): Humans Help Save Injured Baby Donkey

by Animal Aid Unlimited, India

“With all the madness that has enveloped the equine world, be it man-made or caused by nature, it feels good to simply sit back for a moment and watch kind gentle souls help a four legged critter in need.  We by no means endorse a particular rescue but simply thought this story was worth sharing; brings back memories closer to home of the rescue/rehab work of Marjorie Farabee, Jerry Finch, Hilary Wood, Elaine Nash and many others.

To all you human angels who tend to those who traverse this planet on 4 legs, may God bless you and keep you.  Your wingspan is greater than you may think.  Keep the faith.” ~ R.T.


Multiple CA Wildfires Take Heavy Toll on both Humans and Horses

By and   as published on The Orange County Register

“This is a tragedy that I have shied away from because of the voluminous amount of news on the subject.  Hundreds of articles are out there detailing the death and destruction with horses being killed and lost at an unprecedented rate.

But today I  decided to share this story because while reporting all of the bad news there lies within a sliver of joy, hope and happiness.  Often you have to dig deep to find something to feel good about and today is assuredly one of those days. 

Our prayers go out to those who struggle to keep themselves and those they love, safe.  May God be with you.” ~ R.T.


OCEANSIDE, CA – Fire crews stopped the Lilac’s destructive march on Friday, keeping to 4,100 acres a blaze that a day earlier had forced thousands to flee their homes, destroyed at least 105 structures and killed dozens of horses.

With the strong winds that initially drove the flames dying down overnight, fire crews were able to move from defense to offense, as aircraft dropped water on hot-spots while hand crews kept an eye out for potential flare-ups.

Despite the improved weather conditions, San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob cautioned residents to remain alert. Officials reported 15 percent containment of the fire Friday night, meaning for only that amount were they confident the flames wouldn’t jump the perimeter.

“A fire that starts in the back country can go anywhere at any time, particularly when those winds shift,” Jacob said. “We are not out of the woods yet.”

The fast-moving blaze ignited late Thursday morning. Officials estimated that around 900 people have shown up at fire shelters, while an estimated 10,000 people were evacuated at one point. The cause was unknown.

Two firefighters and four civilians were injured. It was unclear how many of the 105 structures were homes.

Flames burned through a quiet, semi-rural portion of San Diego County best known for ranches and orchards. Crews worked to keep the fire from burning west toward the larger Oceanside community or onto Camp Pendleton.

Trainers and staff at the facility cut loose some of the 450-plus horses so they could escape the flames. Dramatic video apparently recorded by a stable hand in the midst of the rescue efforts showed waves of horses running through the smoke as workers hurried to release them. Still, the California Horse Racing Board estimated 25 horses died.

Most of the survivors were trucked to the safety of the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

More than 1,000 fire personnel were dedicated to the Lilac Fire on Friday, along with more than 100 fire engines and 15 helicopters, Cal Fire spokesman Kendal Bortisser said.

“We continue to fight this fire from the air and the ground,” Bortisser said.

The Lilac fire put thousands of U.S. Marines at nearby Camp Pendleton on alert. Two military aviation strike teams were on-hand to help support firefighting efforts.

Of the 85 destroyed structures, officials were unsure how many were homes.

“There were quite a few mobile homes that were lost in the area,” San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said. “That includes senior citizens.”

Friday, residents were taking stock of the damage.

Mary Klodell, 54, was riding her bike on the San Luis Rey trail when she saw smoke in the air – sending her racing home to pack essentials before leaving the area.

“We heard crackling and popping behind us,” she said. “I was panicked and looking for my keys.”

On Friday, Klodell returned to the neighborhood, walking the ruins of some homes and finding others still intact. A neighbor told her that only a small shift in the weather saved her residence.

“He told me the wind shifted right in time, or else my house would be done now,” she said. “That’s God protecting me.”

At the Stepp Stables at Camp Pendleton, Sandrine Linglet was overwhelmed and crying tears of joy. A day earlier, seeing smoke and fire in the air, Linglet, 46, had driven to the Oceanside Equestrian Center, where she kept four mustangs.

“I could barely see, it was back and red everywhere,” Linglet recalled.

On her first trip, Linglet, who had also been forced to evacuate her Oceanside home, was able to get two mustangs into a trailer. Ignoring warnings from firefighters, she returned Thursday night to rescue a third with the help of two Marines and brought the horse back to the Pendleton stable. They were unable to corral the fourth unbroken mustang.

“I was in tears and exhausted,” Linglet said. “I felt guilty. I couldn’t believe that I left her behind.”

Linglet spent the night at Stepp Stables — partly hunkering down with the three rescued mustangs and then sitting in her car listening to news reports.

“I cried the whole night but I was sure no matter what, i would not give up,” she said. “No matter what, no matter how, I would try to get my horse.”

Just before daylight, Linglet returned to the Oceanside Equestrian Center on Friday just a few miles from the stables at Camp Pendleton. She was shocked to see her fourth mustang, Margo, standing in a field. Hours later, the four were all safe at Camp Pendleton, which lent space for evacuated steeds.

Around 11 a.m. on Thursday, James Adams smelled smoke near his 3,300 square-foot home that overlooks the San Luis Rey river valley, about eight miles from Fallbrook. He helped his wife gather paintings and other valuables and got her, two dogs and a parrot into the car.

“I didn’t want her to be here,” the 68-year-old said. “I didn’t know how fast it would come.”

By 2 p.m., the fire had consumed the house two doors away, as the wind screamed over his home. He watched as the wind and flames shifted to the south, burning five homes to the ground at the end of this street. That night, there was no electricity, but he saw an orangey sky.

He called 911 twice, alerting firefighters to fire near him. Each time, helicopters doused the flames.

“I think the fire fighters did an amazing job,” he said.

Friday afternoon, Adams was able to think about how lucky he had been.

“I’ve been putting my library together for 40 years,” he said, “it’s one of my most personal possessions.”

Other links:

Horse death toll at San Luis Rey Downs from wildfire could climb past 40

Trainer severely burned, race horses killed in California wildfires

At least 50 horses die as Southern California wildfires take ‘tragic’ toll on equestrian communities

Lilac Fire at San Luis Rey Downs takes devastating toll on horse racing community