Clark County Saddle Club creates evacuation center for horses


Horses from Oregon and north Clark County have been brought to the club, a safe place away from the evacuation zones.

VANCOUVER — A call to action.

Followed by a lot of action.

That is no surprise within this community.

But still, impressive.

“We made a post (online), and we told people we were going to use the saddle club for the evacuated animals,” Haley Minsker said. “We told people what we were doing, and it evolved from there.”

Haley Minsker of the Clark County Saddle Club was one of the organizers who put out a call for help, and the help responded. Members turned the club into a place for more than 100 horses to stay temporarily. Photo by Paul Valencia
Haley Minsker of the Clark County Saddle Club was one of the organizers who put out a call for help, and the help responded. Members turned the club into a place for more than 100 horses to stay temporarily. Photo by Paul Valencia

That would be the dozens and dozens of volunteers preparing the Clark County Saddle Club to become temporary homes for horses from the region as horse owners from Oregon and northern Clark County flee from fire danger.

“You should have seen it,” Don Hanley said. “It looked like an army out here.”

The Clark County Rodeo Bible Camp donated the panels to set up spots for more than 100 horses, if needed. Buckets were donated by Lowe’s and Wilco. Club members brought in load after load of hay.

Some members are offering their own space at their farms, as well.

Other members drove their trucks and trailers toward the danger zones to pick up horses. 

It was an all call, and that call was answered.

“It’s been so awesome,” said Minsker, a board member of the club. “My phone has been on all day. ‘What can I donate? How can I help? What can we do?’”

Wilco and other companies donated hay, buckets and other supplies as the Clark County Saddle Club brought in horses from evacuated areas in the Northwest. Photo by Paul Valencia
Wilco and other companies donated hay, buckets and other supplies as the Clark County Saddle Club brought in horses from evacuated areas in the Northwest. Photo by Paul Valencia

One person, who no longer owns horses, came to the club to help set up the panels. Another offered his truck and flatbed to get more hay. 

Minsker and George Hinderliter, the president of the club, got it going, and the membership followed their lead.

“That’s not unusual for the Clark County Saddle Club,” said Hanley, a board member. “We’re always donating to the community in one form or another.”

On Thursday afternoon, the club had a dozen horses there at 1 p.m. Within the hour six more were dropped off and seven more were on the way. Video on social media posted Thursday night showed even more horses there. The club also has space for others.

“Llamas and cows and pigs and goats. Chickens, too. We’re moving it all,” Minsker said.

Jackie Phillips, the chair of the saddle club, said it has been heartbreaking to see news footage of families leaving their homes. The animals are frightened, too. She is just happy her club can help in any way it can.

“Horse people in general are really supportive of each other and rise to the occasion,” Phillips said.

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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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