Happy Valley Farms on the road to recovery - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Happy Valley Farms on the road to recovery

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ROSSVILLE, GA (WRCB) -

The road to recovery continues, two months after a fire ripped through the stables at Happy Valley Farms.

35 American Saddlebred Horses died in the blaze, valued at more than $4,000,000.

It happened on the evening of June 20. The cause of the fire was officially ruled undetermined, but stable owner Marion Hutcheson believes lightning could have been a factor.

No matter the cause. It's been a tough couple months as Happy Valley works to get back on its feet.

The fire forced Happy Valley Farms to start from scratch after loosing hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment and millions in facilities. 

But Marion Hutchenson tells Channel 3 she is moving forward, with the help of the community.

"Like the phoenix from the ashes we'll rise and I think that's the purpose is that there's still hope and there's still life here," said Suzanne Howard.

Months after fire took the lives of 35 horses at Happy Valley Farms, locals watch as the farm comes back to life.

Owner, Marion Hutchenson, didn't want to go on camera, but tells Channel 3  the fire forced the farm to start over after loosing nearly $1.2 million in facilities and close to $350,000 in equipment. 

Hutchenson says there is still hope, saying plans to rebuild are in the works.

She hopes to have a new home for her stallions very soon.

Hutchenson says the support of people like Jill Huskey has kept them going.

"I just thought well maybe people need a place to go and grieve and express their sympathies and condolences so that's when I made the Facebook page," said Jill Huskey.

Huskey says the page immediately filled with comments from horse communities all over the country.

"You can tell the horse community is a tight-knit bunch and one person told me that they fight like brothers and sisters but when it comes down to it and someone's in trouble they help out," said Huskey.

She says friends wanted to know how they could help so they decided to make a memorial, out of solar lights, one for each horse that died. 

"Everyone said if you don't get enough, I'll send whatever rest you need," said Huskey.

But not having enough was never an issue, they came from all over the country, from New York to California, totaling to 43. 

"It's just something to remember the horses by. And the years that have gone past and all the training and the work you've put into them and the love you've given them," said Howard.

And as the sun sets on Happy Valley Farms, the memory of the horses shine bright.

"We need to remember that. That it's not just a death thing. That there is still life here and they will go on," said Howard.

Happy Valley Farm plans to make a permanent memorial for the horses at the graveside, complete with a stone marker and all 43 lights.

To find out how you can help Happy Valley Farms visit their Happy Valley Farm Fire Fund.

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