Devastating Chicago Area Stable Fire Kills 32 Horses, Fundraising Efforts Have Begun

The equestrian community is reeling from the demise of Valley View Acres, which was destroyed by a fire on Saturday night.

Valley View Acres, located in Woodstock, Illinois, was by all accounts a vibrant, thriving hub of equestrian activity. The boarding/training facility specialized in breeding colored thoroughbreds and was a haven for riders active in local, regional and national hunter/jumper competition. Our hearts go out to the Bauman family and all the boarders who lost horses and ponies in this weekend’s blaze, which started at around 10:53 p.m. Saturday night having originated in a hayloft.

Thirty-two horses perished in the fire; five were rescued. Fifteen of the 32 horses that died in the fire belonged to owner Amber Bauman

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune a heartbroken Amber Bauman described it as the worst news that any barn owner could receive. The Bauman family and several of Amber’s students had been at a Illinois Hunter Jumper Association banquet Saturday night. Her two sons returned home early; later, one son awoke to an “awkward sound” and saw the fire outside the window. By the time fire responders arrived much of the stable was engulfed in flames.

“That’s home. That’s an extension of home. This is all my kids know, and it’s gone,” Amber told the Tribune. She lamented that the losses included lesson horses who had taught hundreds of children to ride as well as her “best friend” Eve, an appendix quarter horse Amber bought when she was 10 and the horse was a foal.


Daughter Alexis Bowman and Charlie Brown, with whom she competed at the 2014 U.S. Pony Finals. Photo via the Valley View Acres Facebook page.

A GoFundMe page has been set up by friends of the Bauman family to help support them in their time of loss: “We are coming together as a community to help out our neighbors. We would greatly appreciate any amount you are able to donate.” In its first day, the page raised $2,960 of its $3,500 goal. You can make donations via the page, Valley View Acres Fire Fund, here.

Go Valley View Acres. Go Riding.




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