As a result of a massive rainstorm that flooded many parts of the Chicago area, on April 18 the hunter/jumper breeding farm Aliboo Farm in Minooka, Ill., had to evacuate all 21 horses off the property due to flooding.
“There was atrocious rain, but when I came out in the morning to feed at 5 a.m., the three big grass pastures we have in the back were all fine. Two hours later, those pastures had a foot of water in them, and the basement was flooding,” said Taylor Flury, who blogs for the Chronicle. “It came on so fast, and we never have problems with flooding. We were trying to sandbag the house and the office, but by 8:30 we said, ‘We have to get the horses out of here.’ “
The horses included broodmares in foal, yearlings and Role Model, the U.S.-bred who topped the U.S. Equestrian Federation national standings in 2011 and 2012 for the 5- and 6-year-old young jumper divisions. The Flury family, who own and live on Aliboo Farm, their staff and volunteers hand-walked the horses through knee-deep water to neighboring farms.
The Ellis House and Equestrian Center across the street from Aliboo took in eight of the horses, while the remaining 13 were led to a Saddlebred farm down the road, Northern Traditions Farm, then shipped to Gianina Ludwig’s farm in Big Rock, Ill.,, where they sheltered. The three dogs from the farm were evacuated by canoe and sheltered at Northern Traditions.
“Our jumps were floating down the road. I had jumps in the indoor, and on one of my trips back to the farm by tractor, jump rails from the indoor were floating out of the driveway,” Flury said. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn declared 38 counties as state disaster areas after the flooding. Aliboo Farm was not covered by flood insurance.
By the next day, however, the flood waters had already receded. “The water came so fast, and it went away almost as fast. It only took 24 hours for 5 feet of water to go down,” Flury said. “It’s a disaster, but the amount of community support we’ve gotten from our neighbors and friends and volunteers is awesome. There’s a ton of clean-up to do, but we’ve had so much help.”