Barn fire leaves Alberta horse therapist with nothing but overwhelming community support
Kindness and compassion showered on Jules Rainforth brought her to tears
A woman who specializes in equine-facilitated wellness says that while a massive barn fire north of Calgary wiped out more than $40,000 in tack, it's the overwhelming support of her neighbours that brought her to tears.
"It's unbelievable. People really are good. They really are," Jules Rainforth told the Calgary Eyeopener.
"It's been insane that the things that made me cry since getting home and seeing the devastation hasn't been as much the wreckage as it's been the kindness and compassion that's just been showered on me."
Rainforth operates Rein Forth Equine just north of Carstairs. She helps people, including children, reach for personal growth and development through horse therapy.
She also provides a safe place for LGBTQ2+ youth to get in touch with their feelings in a hate and judgment-free environment.
Rainforth got the call nobody wants to get earlier this month.
- How Albertan! Cowgirls and cowboy take horses through Carstairs' new Tim Hortons drive-thru
- 'I'm not as bad a person as I thought': Horse therapy helps LGBTQ youth find their safe place
"I was halfway around Lake Louise with my girlfriend hiking and my neighbour called and mentioned my barn was on fire," she said.
"My ex-husband and son were in the house, so I contacted them and just told him to go look after things."
But it was too late. The barn was fully engulfed. However, a recent warming in the weather from a frigid –45 with the wind chill days earlier played in her favour.
"The weather had changed that day. So none of the horses were inside the barn. So luckily my herd was safe. My people were safe. My dogs were safe. My house was safe."
The investigation so far has determined where the fire started in the barn, but not why, she said.
She lost more than $40,000 in horse tack, including saddles, bridles and brushes.
Rainforth said her insurance really wasn't set up for something of this scale.
But a Plan B quickly emerged involving people from Carstairs, the horse community and even some complete strangers.
"They've been coming forward with donations like crazy. I am at the point where I just can't even keep straight who is coming and when and how," Rainforth said.
"It's so comforting knowing that, yes, I have all these extra costs coming my way, but now I've got all kinds of tack from other people. And not just old stuff. Like, there are three fairly brand new saddles and other things, bridles and bits and saddles stands and, you know, I could go on."
With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.