Trip to Ann Simmon's Farm!!!

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Wisteria

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Hi Guys,

I'll post the photos in 3-4 posts in a row...

Well, we are back safe and sound from Ann Simmon’s Farm (Seahorse Farm) in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Since SO many of you emailed, posted and donated to Ann, it would take me days to write to each of you individually, so I hope you will forgive me if I post our story here for all to read.

Let me start by saying that Ann cried when we drove up and she must have thanked us 2 dozen times for coming and wanted me to thank each and every one of you for your support and prayers. When she has electricity, she will post a thank you note on the forum. She was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support. I printed out all the posts for her to read. I told her when it seems overwhelming to just pick up the printout and read and it would brighten her day.

I emailed Karin Santangelo of Nakar Miniatures Farm and asked her if she would keep my mare for the weekend so we could go help Ann. She said yes and I took Moon to her house Thursday night. At 6:20am Friday morning, she called to tell me I was a grandma of a beautiful sorrel/white pinto colt (I will post his photo later today as she is bringing him this morning). Since Moon foaled, I asked if Karin wanted to go with us and she said yes.

We left early Saturday morning. My minivan and trailer were full of groceries and supplies. I drove the minivan and I took Karin Santangelo, Kaitlin Freeman and Aaron Daigle. My husband Rex let us borrow his 1 ton truck and we filled it full of fencing supplies and gas and the flatbed trailer was full of horse feed and concrete. Two men, Mark Manalo and David Rabin drove the truck. We heard there was no gas, so we carried enough to get us there and back. Ann, her daughter Aaron and Aaron’s boyfriend Jamie were there to help. So there were 9 of us.

We brought a generator, small a/c unit, dry ice, horse feed, fencing, concrete, t-posts, tools, food, water and gas to run the generator. The most important thing I brought was duct tape…Karin will laugh when she reads this! When I packed, I threw in an old pair of shorts with an elastic band. I put them on Saturday night after my bath (Ann has running water, but no drinking water) and the elastic band was broken. The waist was like 45†wide. So I just tore off some duct tape and “voila†– repaired shorts…HaHa!

When we got to the Louisiana/Mississippi border, we tried to stop for gas and there was a line as far as you could see at one gas station, so we went on. There was NO more gas after that to be found. We started seeing the effects of the storm at that point. The pine trees lining the highway were broken in half and increased in number as we drove further east. We couldn’t see any houses but signs were down everywhere. The highway was lined with trees bulldozers had pushed out of the way. There were thousands and thousands of trees down. It was like a bomb went off.

When we got to Ann’s, we unloaded, ate lunch and got straight to work. It was 93 degrees and the sun was beating down. There wasn’t ONE tree standing in her front yard. Miraculously, not one tree hit her house. These were huge tall oak trees that were downed from the roots up. Many trees were still standing but broken and will probably die later.

The pastures were another story. Some trees were fine, some were just broken, and others were completely up rooted. There wasn’t one square foot that didn’t have limbs or leaves or downed trees. There were electric lines hanging down over some pastures. There was a downed transformer and pole in one stallion pen (see photo). I imagine it will be a while before she gets electricity or her phone works. The back fences are completely covered in downed trees. The horses can’t escape because the trees are there blocking the path.

Half the roof on the barn was gone (see photo). Tin was everywhere. That was another miracle because she has filled the barn with horses and not one was hurt! But all the horse feed was ruined. And half the windows were blown out of the hay storage building behind the barn.

Two people used the chain saws to cut the limbs. The rest of us picked up limbs, piled them into a pickup truck, took them to a burn pile, dumped and went back. We did that for the rest of the day. We cooked hot dogs on the grill that night. So we got to take baths – yippee! We listened to Fox News on my XM radio. Ann had not heard about New Orleans or Biloxi or any of what was going on in the rescue operation. Karin and I slept in the living room. The girls slept on TOP of the horse trailer outside. It was a beautiful night.

We told Ann about Dr. Bradford in Waveland and she was relieved that help had reached him. I brought her newspapers for the last 4 days and she was grateful to be able to catch up on the news. I also brought her a radio so she could listen to the news.

The next morning, we filled the garbage cans with horse feed, dumped all the water tanks and filled with fresh water and fed all the horses. The horses had been on pasture but had not had grain since the storm struck. They were all in good shape though.

We ate lunch and we put 6 horses in the trailer and drove home. The traffic was bad on the way back. There were so many people coming back from the “war zoneâ€. The traffic was heavy. Everyone had extra gas cans attached to their roofs or in the back of their trucks. We saw a few “thank you†signs on the road and one guy standing on an overpass with a huge American flag and a big “thank you†sign. Of course we honked. There were many, many helicopters and many armed forces and Red Cross vehicles.

Ann has homeowner’s insurance but I’m not sure how much if any of it will cover the barn or the fences or the clearing of those trees. There is a man that said he would send a bulldozer to push all the trees into a burn pile, but they will have to take fences down in order to do that. But it will cost hundreds to buy new tin and fix the barn and it will probably cost several thousand to fix the fences. We will try to contact FEMA and see what they will cover. I just don’t think they would cover fence repair.

As for people going down South to help – you have to bring your own gas. There is just none in that area at the time. Grocery stores are being cleaned out – even as far as 2-300 miles away. You have to be careful. There are some dangerous and desperate people out there! There’s a sense of urgency. There are many good people – neighbors helping neighbors. But you don’t want to put yourself in harm’s way if you don’t need to. Sending money to the relief organizations that AMHA has listed or helping individuals would probably be the smartest thing to do if you want to help.

Last, I just wanted to thank EVERYONE for their prayers and support. I’ve read the prayer string you guys posted. That is what got us through without any problems. God was watching over us! In a few weeks – when things die down and gas is flowing – if someone nearby wants to bring hay or men know how to hammer tin back on a barn – then you can go down and help Ann in that way. But I would wait.

I told Ann to get up her horses on her website as soon as she can. Her only source of income is her horses. So PLEASE – if you are looking for some very nice mares in foal or foals, check her website in a few weeks and consider her horses!

God Bless you ALL. You are WONDERFUL!!!

Monette

PS Please forgive the way we look – we had no makeup on and we're DIRTY!!!





 

Dona

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Thanks so much for the update Monette!!!!! I was wondering how you guys were doing down there! Ann definitely had guardian angels looking out for her, when she made it thru THAT storm....and all of her minis as well.


All of you who went down to help......BLESS YOU!!!!!! You look like ANGELS to me...makeup or not!
 

Marty

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I am so happy to hear that Ann and the horse's have not been physically hurt. Our prayers were answered because we were so concerend about what you were going to find.

Monette I already respected you and now I do even more. You were so giving of yourself. You did an outstanding incredible thing. You certainly are an Angel. If you check back, there were other posts for well wishes and prayers for YOU after you had left. We are all so glad you have returned safely.

You made a difference Monette. Just by you showing up, I think even if you were empty handed, just by being there for support I am sure would have helped Ann's moralle.

Ironically, I got a call about a month ago from a stranger in Mississippi looking for show stock and I directed her to Ann. Wonder if they ever connected?

Having been through a couple of devestations myself I know first hand of the frustration involved here as well as the terrible depression that sets on you mentally afterwards. I think that once all this debris is gone out of the way, that will help so much getting things moving to be fixed back up. You have certainly giving Ann the jump start she needed and I can only imagine how much you lifted her spirits by showing up.

Thank you for being there for Ann when the rest of us could not.

Thank you for this information and do please keep us updated.

Now, go change your clothes girl and get some rest.

By the way, I'm the one that suggested the duck tape. Glad you didn't loose your shorts......
lol
 

lvponies

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Bless you all for going down to help!!!
I'm sure it was much appreciated. I'm glad you got down there and back safely.
 

NMMack

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Thank God you all made it down and back safely, and were able to bring help and comfort to Ann and her horses! You are just Wonderful Monette!!!


Thank You also for posting the story of your trip and the pictures, what a tragedy!!!


Nancy
 

bfogg

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All I can see is 3 very beautiful angels!!!!!

What we need is to replace the hot air in Washington with people like you who don't talk just do!

God bless you all!

Bonnie
 

RAPfrosty

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That is more than wonderful, what you did for them! I am so glad everyone is ok and it's so sad to see those pictures but it's so happy to know you went there and made a difference! You deserve the biggest pat on the back in the entire world!
 

minimama

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Yeah!!!! You are back safe and sound!! Whoohooo!!!!! I am so glad everything went so well and I bet Ann is feeling much better now too.

Welcome back.

Monette, you are truly wonderful!
 

MeadowRidge Farm

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I was so relieved to hear that Ann and her horses are safe, and I want to THANK you from the bottom of my heart for doing everything you have done to help her. Ann is one of the nicest people I have ever met. So a GREAT BIG THANK YOU to all. Corinne
 

wildoak

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What a wonderful thing you all have done! Ann - and others there- certainly remain in our prayers.

So many refugees have poured into Texas and are being helped, but the ones like Ann who have horses they can't leave are in a different situation. It is heartening to know that most of the major breed associations (aqha, apha as well as amha) are contributing to the relief. Also American Horse Council, Lonestar Horse Rescue, etc etc and of course CMHR.

Jan
 

EMB

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Monette thank you so much for the update and the pictures! All things considered it sure looks like it was nothing short of a miracle that all of Ann's horses escaped unscathed, not to mention Ann herself. How wonderful to see your relief convoy it must have been for her. You are all angels who were surrounded by angels on this trip. Bless your hearts!
 

bluetaterbaby

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What a blessing! This is what it's all about. Everyone helping each other. There are angels among us and dear friends. A huge "thank you" and hugs to all.


God bless,

Joan
 

Cathy_H

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Lots of forum buddies here sure are relieved to hear that you all are safely back home. Bless you all.
Glad to hear Ann & her animals are safe......................... Congratulations on your new foal.
 

Devon

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Good for you for helping her out!!thank god that everyone was ok!!!
 

ShawneeCreek

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Good to read you all made it back safely. What a mess Ann has to clean up but I'm sure your visit gave her the extra boost she needs. Acts of kindness and reaching out to help your fellow man are always rewared. Thanks for sharing your story and pictures.

 

mizbeth

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That was so wonderful for you to do Monette! All of you.............I know that was a long and expensive trip. Ann must know how lucky she is, in so many ways!

God bless you all!

Beth
 

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