Shortly before nine in the evening on Thursday, June 21, 2013, an enormous fire broke out at Happy Valley Farms in Rossville, Georgia, longtime home to both breeding and show horses. Tragically, the fire spread incredibly quickly, engulfing the barn where the stallions and show horses lived, killing 35 of the 36 horses who lived inside. The fire spread to a blacksmith’s shed, which it also destroyed, and another barn, causing the loss of considerable amounts of equipment. Some forty regional firefighters were called in to stop the blaze, and traffic was halted on Happy Valley road to allow the approximately dozen fire engines that responded better access .
From what is known at this point, the fire did not spread or affect the additional broodmare stabling or pastures that exist on the seven-acre farm, and those horses were not injured. Furthermore, no human injuries have been reported, but the emotional trauma that this has caused for those close to the horses, including farm owner Marion “Bit” Hutcheson, is indubitable. The loss of these horses is a true tragedy for our breed. The Saddlebred community at large is banding together in support of Bit and the Happy Valley training team, which includes Donny and Lisa Pyburn and Danny Jenner, and all the staff members.