The Valenti Equestrian Club (VEC) came to the aid of Thoroughbred horses stabled at the equestrian center in Rancho Santa Fe owned by Irene Valenti during the 2014 Diego wildfire emergency. Staff members of Valenti International and management of the VEC successfully evacuated 43 horses to stalls at the Del Mar Fairgrounds after an email/social media appeal went out to all horse owners, and within minutes an outpouring of support helped secure enough trailers to complete the equine evacuation.
Facilitated by a social media campaign launched by Steve Valenti, the horse evacuation took place within a short window of a few hours. VEC owner Irene Valenti remarked, “Valenti Equestrian Club staff were alerted immediately of the rapidly advancing fire danger from the Bernardo Fire and rose to the occasion regarding immanent threat to the horses. The Del Mar Fairgrounds management was extremely accommodating and reserved space for our horses on very short notice. VEC Staff members and volunteers quickly mobilized to prepare the facilities for the horses and ensured they were comfortable in their new surroundings…it was truly a team effort.”
The VEC-boarded horses and facility sustained the fire without damage and welcomes new boarders. Irene Valenti recalled, “The community was amazing; they dropped what they were doing and offered to help, so much so that I was inundated with phone calls. I’m particularly grateful to the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Department who coordinated the deployment of local helicopters amongst nine fires raging to douse flames in the area and ensure there were no injuries. Flashbacks of the 2007 fires came to our minds, and our concern for these horses was foremost. Assistance offered by complete strangers demonstrates love towards animals and the desire to help others. It began as a terrifying situation that thankfully resulted in a happy ending.”