Taylor Flury had to completely evacuate AliBoo Farm with the help of family and staff when rain caused substantial flooding on April 18. The flood only lasted one day, but the clean-up continues.
The water mostly went down by the next day, but it left a path of destruction a mile wide behind. 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. The office was so nasty and muddy, and you didn’t 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.
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. I have never been so exhausted or muddy in my life as the next couple of days after the flood. We started to clean up the office the first day, then cleared out the basement the following day. You never realize how powerful water is until you witness its destruction. We were so lucky and had so many volunteers those first few days, from employees of my parents’ 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 a.m. 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 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 three weeks of constant blowers to dry it out. Fortunately, 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 it.
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, not just because she is insanely talented, but she is also very sensitive in how she's handled, and, honestly, she is “my mare.” She was due in a month when this whole thing happened, and I didn’t want anything to happen to her. Happily enough she seemed as relaxed as possible and fine with everything. She came home four days after the flood, and to my surprise had her baby one week later. The baby was about 20 days premature, but she was healthy, thank goodness. It terrifies me to think what could’ve happened if this filly had been born a week earlier.
We still have a long road ahead of us, and it will be a while 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 my young horses could not possibly have had a better training experience. We wouldn’t 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.