We are shocked and saddened to learn that the Billings Gazette in Billings, Montana is reporting that a barn holding 19 horses on eventer Martha McDowell’s High Plains Stables farm burned down Monday morning. The Gazette reports: “An employee was sleeping in a trailer near the barn holding 19 horses that burned down Monday morning but didn’t awaken and see the fire until the barn was engulfed in flames.” All 19 horses passed away according to the Gazette. A dozen horses outside the barn at the time of the fire were uninjured. An investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing. Martha’s husband, Dr. Greg McDowell, said “These 19 horses that died here today were athletes and these people loved them.”
Eventing Nation’s thoughts and prayers reach out to the McDowells and the entire Billings eventing community today. Martha is a mainstay of the US eventing community as the consummate sportswoman and competitor. Martha has been a great friend to Eventing Nation and this news comes just months after the passing of Martha’s beloved 4* event horse Gaelic Marriage.
There’s nothing anyone can possibly write or do to help in a situation like this but certainly we can try. We will continue to update you as recovery and relief efforts become more solidified and as we learn more. Until then please keep all involved in your thoughts and prayers.
Update: I have been told by Sarah Broussard-Kelly that fundraising efforts will be posted on the Rebecca Farm website shortly. We will keep you updated as this develops.