Displaced Horses Find Refuge In Oakland

Firestorms sweeping through the North Bay are destroying thousands of homes, but not everyone fleeing the fires got out on two legs.

In recent days, Oakland’s Skyline Ranch Equestrian Center and Piedmont Stables have been organizing relief efforts for the horses evacuated from four counties under a state of emergency due to uncontrolled wildfires.

“A lot of people are talking about getting boots on the ground, sending capable horse people to get in and tend the animals,” said Judi Martin, manager and head trainer at Skyline Ranch. The most needed resources are money and supplies, she said. “A lot of the displaced animals didn’t take food with them.”

Skyline Ranch and Piedmont Stables operate as sister facilities. Both are owned by the East Bay Regional Park District and offer boarding, lessons, horse training and inner-city outreach. Martin, who manages both facilities, has worked with Title I schools such as Carl Munck Elementary.

When the fires began, equestrians centers around the Bay opened up to displaced horses. In addition to Piedmont Stables, horses have been evacuated to the Solano County Fairgrounds in Vallejo, and about 25 are now at Golden Gate Fields in Berkeley, said Martin.

“It seems like most horses have gotten out and are safe, but the fire is not entirely contained and no one knows,” she added.

Piedmont Stables hosts three horses evacuated from American Canyon, a town just north of Vallejo. “It was a preliminary evacuation,” said Martin.

Though the stables currently host just the three evacuees, Martin is very open to accepting more. One Skyline Ranch employee has been ferrying supplies up to the evacuation center in Vallejo with the offer to transport excess animals to Piedmont Stables on the return trip.

“Some of those stables are old and dilapidated,” said Martin, such as the Vallejo facility, which is a fairground, not a year-round facility. “If someone would rather have their horse down here, even though we’re further away, we’ll take them.”

To contribute money for feed and supplies, donate via YouCaring. Those with evacuated horses that need boarding can text Judi Martin at 510-388-9528.

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Displaced horses find refuge in oakland