Financial Aid Reaches Disaster Victims
The call came in as dressage trainer Erika Jansson was driving to Northern California after teaching miles away. She had to pull over to the side of road because the news on the phone blinded her with tears. The Sonoma County Horse Council (SCHC), publisher of the Horse Journal, had awarded funds to victims of the devastating 2019 and 2020 wildfires and Erika was one of the beneficiaries.
SCHC’s Horse Journal will feature in the June issue two county horse people who have received financial aid from the nonprofit’s disaster fund. In addition to Jansson, money was awarded to Linda Aldrich of Sonoma Pony Express who like Jansson was a victim of wildfires.
On October 27, 2019, fire spread through Renaissance Farm in Healdsburg where Jansson centered her dressage training business. While boarders and the Renaissance owners evacuated 17 horses, Jansson was teaching in Texas and she could not rescue her business inventory held in a large storage shed.
The fire transformed into ashes carefully collected training and show items. “Many of my students depended on my supply for training and for attending competitions like fans and stall guards. I lost my shadbelly coat, horse shoeing equipment, helmets, longe lines, and spurs, many which I had collected from around the world. The ash from burning my things was so thick it stuck to your shoes,” recalled Jansson.
The next year and a month later the Glass Fire poured like an avalanche over the Santa Rosa, California, Pony Express ranch that housed a nonprofit that had provided equine therapy to children for more than four decades. Linda Aldrich’s home and barns were completely destroyed, though the horses and ponies, all rescued animals, survived.
Known as the “Sonoma pony lady”, Aldrich has faced among other needs the necessity to rebuild more than 3,000 feet of perimeter fencing around her six-acre ranch. With a focus on Aldrich’s plan to return to full operation one day. The Horse Journal article will focus on how the SCHC donation contributes to replacing the temporary hay barn with a permanent structure.
“We are most grateful to those who donated to the SCHC disaster fund and allowed us to lend a hand to our equestrian community so devastated by wildfires,” said Henry Beaumont, president of the SCHC board of directors, in his message in the current issue of the Horse Journal. “We look forward to the time when a wildfire disaster fund won’t be necessary.”
About the Sonoma County Horse Council and the Horse Journal
The Sonoma County Horse Council in Northern California was founded in 1993 with the mission promote the health and well-being of horses and all aspects of the horse industry in Sonoma County, communicate to members on horse-related issues through social media and the Horse Journal, inform the public about horse community goals and projects, support private and public equestrian facilities and promote all aspects of the equine industry. For more information about the SCHC, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and the Horse Journal, visit www.sonomacountyhorsecouncil.org.
Managing Editor, SCHC Horse Journal
Images available on request