Calgary

Barn fire leaves Alberta horse therapist with nothing but overwhelming community support

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.

Kindness and compassion showered on Jules Rainforth brought her to tears

On Jan. 19, Jules Rainforth of Rein Forth Equine got the call that her horse barn near Carstairs was in flames. (Rein Forth Equine/Facebook)

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."

The horse barn at Rein Forth Equine burned to the ground earlier this month. (Rein Forth Equine/Facebook)

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.

"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.

Jules Rainforth lost more than $40,000 in horse tack after a massive barn fire earlier this month. (Justin Pennell/CBC)

"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.

This was all that was left after a barn fire at Rein Forth Equine north of Calgary in mid-January. (Rein Forth Equine/Facebook)

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."

A story about the kindness of strangers. Friends, family and total strangers help a woman in Carstairs after her horse barn burns down. 6:03

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.

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