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  • Writer's pictureTaylor A. Flury

Flooded

Well apparently mother nature did not think we were spring cleaning fast enough and decided to hurry us along. We were so lucky because the water went mostly down by the next day, but it left a path of destruction a mile wide behind; everywhere you looked. Five of our vehicles were declared totaled because the water level in them had gotten so high, the indoor was a disaster because the water had eroded the base under the walls away, the office was so nasty and muddy, and you did not even want to look at the basement and cellar. Not to mention the hundreds of pounds of corn stalks that had gotten swept up and left on the fences and all over the yard. When we started cleaning, we realized that though the water had gone, it was going to be a long clean up process.


In the middle of this disaster, the area was declared a disaster a week after it happened, the only thing that helped keep our spirits up was counting our blessings. We were lucky that the flooding occurred during the morning and not the night. We were lucky everyone was safe and sound, and we were incredibly lucky for the enormous outpouring of support from the equine community around us. The next couple of days after the flood I had never been so exhausted, or muddy in my life. We started clean up on the office the first day, then clearing out the basement the following day. You never realize how powerful water is until you witness it’s destruction. We were so lucky and had so many volunteers already those first few days, from employees of my parent’s companies, to clients of AliBoo.


Finally, on Sunday, we were able to begin power washing and scrubbing the barn down and cleaning out what was ruined. I have to admit, by now I was getting slightly grumpy because of lack of sleep and just looking at everything left to be done; I think everybody was reaching this point. I can never tell you how grateful and amazed I was when at about 10 AM our neighbors rolled in on their tractor to help clean up corn stalks, volunteers from the community barn came over, and friends pulled in asking what they could do. Some of these people I had never even met before. These people were willing to clean buckets, rake up corn stalks, take laundry to be washed, and much more. We also had tons of people dropping by with food and baked goodies. I think brownies were my standard breakfast for the first few days.


It took us two days, all day long, to get the barn clean enough that we could bring the horses home. We still had more cleaning to do, but the basics were done. We laughingly joked that the barn would be cleaner than when we began, every inch was being scrubbed and reorganized. The indoor walls all had to be ripped out and it took almost 3 weeks of constant blowers going to dry it out. Fortunately, enough the outdoor sits higher on the property and drains water really well so after a week we were able to drag it out enough to ride in.


One of my greatest worries during this whole ordeal was my maiden pregnant mare Chiari. She is third generation AliBoo Farm and is my baby; she was named after my surgery and I will donate her winnings to the Chiari Foundation. She is so special to me though because while she is insanely talented she is very sensitive in how she is handled and honestly she is “my mare.” She was due in a month when this whole thing happened and I did not want anything to happen to her. Happily enough she seemed as relaxed as possible and fine with everything. She came home the Monday after the flood (it took place Thursday) and to my surprise had her baby one week later. The baby was about 20 days premature but was healthy, thank goodness. It terrifies me to think what could have happened if this filly had been born a week earlier.


We still have a long road ahead of us and it will be awhile until things are back to normal, but I try to think of the positive outcomes from this flood. We have named it the “friendship flood” because it has been such a time of friendship, we have done our spring cleaning and cleaning out, and I say that my young horses could not possibly have had a better training experience. We would not nearly have gotten the farm so cleaned up in such a short amount of time without the generosity of our friends, family, and “horse neighbors.” We can never thank them enough.

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