The story of a dozen horses saved by a rodeo queen | News

As houses burned around her, Meghan Rickel donned her rubber boots and Carhart Boulder Rodeo Queen jacket and got to work, pulling the neighborhood horses from their flaming playgrounds into waiting trailers. With the help of the Boulder Horse Search and Rescue Team, she rescued 10 horses before arriving at the end of the road in Spanish Hills South, where her own family’s barn was engulfed in fire. so hot that it melted the metal fence surrounding it.

What she saw that awaited her made a sob rise in her throat.

Her two horses, Caesar and Breezy, stared out the kitchen window, wondering where she was.

“We had to navigate through the fire to get to them,” said Rickel, who rode Caesar during his rodeo career. She said it had just arrived that her trailer was hitched to her truck, saving precious seconds.

“We had someone looking after us for sure,” she said.

On Wednesday night, the 12 horses were safe and emerging from their stalls in nervousness as Rickel, his sister Alli and his mother, Gina, fed them hay at the Boulder County Fairgrounds, which had been set up as a shelter for the big rebellious animals.

Around the corner, in an open stall, stood Nibbles, a pregnant mare who was due to give birth on December 26.

Her owner, Alexis Gallego, had just brought her back from the Boulder Equestrian Center. “The fire was really close and I was so scared,” Gallego said.

In case Nibbles gave birth tonight, Gallego’s parents would put up a homemade sign asking people to keep an eye out for a newborn foal in the dusty floor of the arena.

The Boulder County Fairgrounds started picking up horses and llamas at noon Wednesday and were turning trailers to Larimer County at lunchtime.

“We have 100 animals, and that’s our limit,” said Blakeley Brownd, animal control officer. “It’s sure to be very hectic. They feel the stress around them.

Behind her, half a dozen trailers, large and small, turned around and headed north. The sound of the cries of horses filled the air.

Along a row of stalls, each with a single horse, Meghan Rickel’s hands were dark gray with soot as she stroked Caesar’s neck.

It has been a long day and Friday could be longer.

“As we were leaving, I saw that the fire was only 45 feet from our house,” she said. She told the Denver Gazette that her parents built the house on the land where their four children grew up.

“I’m pretty sure it’s not there anymore,” she said with clear eyes behind a mask. “When I told my dad about it, he said I brought out all that mattered.”

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