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Local farm plays host to equestrian evacuees

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Posted at 5:59 PM, Sep 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-15 14:41:23-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Thousands of evacuees from South Florida are still picking up the pieces after Hurricane Irma hit last weekend. However, thanks to some help from a farm close to home, many are going home knowing every member of their family is safe.

Mahan Farm played host to more than two dozen horses after their owners chose to evacuate. 

"Because that's who we are. That's what we do here," said Vickie Hunt, a Mahan Farm employee. Hunt says the equestrian community is tight-knit, so when the farm's owners, Brett Barteld and Lindsay Barrack, opened up their doors to Irma evacuees, it wasn't surprising.

After all, you can't exactly put your horse in a hotel room. 

"Horses become a big part of your family and horses become totally dependent on their owners," said Hunt. "They can't go and fend for themselves. They're confined and they're dependent on us for water and food, so it becomes a very emotional sense to keep your horse safe."

On top of the horses, dogs, chickens, and their humans all packed onto the farm property, fleeing Irma's wrath. A small shed was damaged and there was some debris to clean up, but overall, the farm owners say they lucked out with no significant structural damage.

Most of the animals and their families are now on their way home, and even though they're worried about what exactly they're going back to, at least they were able to say at Mahan Farm, safe and unharmed.