We want to THANK Corporal Barge for his help as we were trying to find a place for our horses when Hurricane Frances was approaching our area.
My name is Wendy Linzey and I reside in Eustis (I'm an Environmental Officer for Lake County Code Enforcement) and have three horses. My barrel trainer (and friend), Amber Meridith, who resides in Apopka, had her four (well she has many more but she had to decide who to take based on money value and leave her others in two other places locally) horses.
We were headed to Alma Georgia that morning, however, on the way, we found out the horses had pasture, but we didn't have a place to stay. I only have a bumper pull trailer with a 4 X 8 dressing room. She has a gooseneck which has a bed, but not much more area than me and no living quarters.
So we were headed to Ocala (west of SR 19) but on the way, found out Frances had changed course and heading a little more north to Ocala, so we weren't sure what to do.
That's when Corporal Barge stopped on the other side of the road to see if we needed help. He gave the "thumbs up" and I did so back, and told him we were stopped to find a signal for our Nextel phones. Amber was behind me and told him the same. Corporal Barge continued on his patrol but on his way back, he stopped as we were still on the side of the road. Amber was trying to find a place that we could take our horses. Most of the time I stayed in my truck but finally went to her rig to see what was going on. Corporal Barge was contacting people and places for us to go. He did locate a couple of places, but the one we were hoping for (new equestrian complex) was not open yet.
As Amber was still talking to other barrel racers, we did find a place in Seville. That trainer left the state Wednesday so her place was open (Hendry Fernery & Cattle Ranch) which had many open pastures. Since it was back east and north, we felt this was our best chance on protecting the horses. We also got to come back to my house and weather out the storm together (my husband works for Progress Energy and he boyfriend also works with Progress Energy and is friends with my husband) as we had a generator if we lost power.
I'm sure when Corporal Barge saw us going the other way, he probably thought we'd lost our minds! We'll, we DID have a plan if Ivan came, and luckily, we didn't have to enact that plan...this time, but another one may be on it's way.
I'm sure you didn't need the entire story, but it was a very stressful day changing plans three times in a matter of one hour. We only lost power for 9 hours that day, but others it took days. And once everyone's power got back on and I got them out of the house that next Wednesday, it took me two days to rest up and get good sleep!
Our horses survived fine (my baby had a few cuts but not sure where they came from) and we're ready for our next show this weekend!
I just wanted to let Corporal Barge know how comforting it was to have someone take the time to stop and care about us and our horses. But I have to say, horse people (him included) always stick together no matter what type of riding you do. Let him know the horses are fine and he'll have to come watch us barrel race. We're in NBHA District #9 and have many shows in Ocala.
Again, thank him and thank you for having employees who care!