Santa Rosa Equestrian Therapy Association struggles to rebuild after 2020 Glass Fire


SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KRON) – It’s been a year since the glass fire ravaged Napa and Sonoma counties, destroying more than 1,500 homes and damaging hundreds more.

The fire also ravaged local businesses and the Santa Rosa nonprofit, “The Pony Express,” which has provided equine therapy to children for decades.

Sadly, a year later, since Glass Fire tore that property apart, it doesn’t look much different.

Again, a house, a hay barn, and a storage room for the missing horses. However, the owner says she is grateful to still have her horses and can’t wait to rebuild one step at a time.

“Overwhelmed, you know? It is a great loss and you have a choice. You can either focus on what you’ve lost or focus on keeping moving forward because what we’re doing makes a lot of sense, ”said Linda Aldrich.

On September 27, 2020, a fire hit Linda Aldrich’s property in Santa Rosa, destroying the house in which she raised her family, as well as a hay barn, saddlery and other storage areas. for his horses.

Fortunately, all 12 horses came out alive that day and while they are back on the property, the nonprofit they are a part of is still struggling to fully reopen.

“When they tell you it’s a process. It is a process and it takes as long as it takes. It takes a lot of time and a lot of money and so our goal was really, you know, we lost over 3,000 feet of fence, putting up the fences and getting the barns that were on the fence that housed the horses. replaced, and then we also lost all of our saddles, hay barns and gear, so really try to focus less on the house. You know I have a trailer, I have a roof over my head, but I’m really trying to get it to where we can get our programs going, ”Aldrich said.

With his horses, barns and all the equipment she once owned, Aldrich runs a nonprofit called The Pony Express, which provides life skills and equine therapy to children in the community.

“Our program, this is our flagship program, our horse-assisted skills youth program that we’ve had for literally four decades, this program is currently closed, so we’re working really, really hard. This is our number one goal. It was a program that we have always provided for free, ”said Aldrich.

So far, Aldrich has been able to bring back half of The Pony Express programs but hopes to bring back all four in the near future.

Through all the destruction and rubble. She says it’s the community that keeps her going.

“So grateful to the community that has rallied around us and continues to rally around us, made a difference, made a difference,” said Aldrich.


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