‘Incredible tragedy’: Carson City couple loses 9 show horses in fire


Posted by Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 10:47 am on Monday, August 13 2012

Michael and Sue Thome own Winterspring Dressage in Carson City. The Thomes lost nine show horses in a fire Friday night. – Courtesy photo

CARSON CITY – A Carson City couple lost nine show horses and sustained additional major damages after a Friday night fire at their farm.

Michael and Sue Thome own Winterspring Dressage at 5260 S. Mount Hope Road near Carson City.

The Thomes learned their barn was on fire around 10 p.m. Friday when a passing motorist stopped and pounded on their door to alert them.

“At my first glimpse of the fire, it was already out of control,” Michael Thome said. “The fire went extremely fast. I could tell the horses were already gone.”

The Thomes don’t know how the fire started. A fire marshal will visit the farm Monday to try to determine a cause. Michael Thome said a strong wind was blowing that night, which accelerated the blaze.

The Thomes built Winterspring Dressage in 1997. The built a riding arena in 2003 and added a large horse barn in 2004.

Two of the show horses that died in the fire were owned by the Thomes, while the other seven were owned by other people who had brought the horses to the farm for training. A 10th horse had left for a show earlier that Friday, else that horse would have been housed in the barn too.

Michael Thome, who is also a veterinarian, said he and his wife typically leave the horses outside overnight, but a cold rain led the couple to house the horses in the barn Friday night. Eight to 10 additional horses housed in another barn on the property were not injured in the fire.

The Thomes estimate each show horse that died was worth from $10,000 to $50,000, depending on the horse. Some of the horses were insured, but some were not. The Thomes lost another estimated $50,000 worth of horses saddles, along with a pick-up truck parked near the barn, farm equipment parked inside the barn and multiple other damages.

“It was an incredible tragedy,” Michael Thome said. “There’s just been a huge outpouring of support from friends and customers and neighbors we didn’t even know we had.”

People have already donated hay and bedding to the Thomes.

The nine horses that died in the fire remain in the ruins of the barn. They will be buried after a fire marshal visits the scene Monday.

For more information about Winterspring Dressage, visit winterspringdressage.com or search “Winterspring Dressage” on Facebook.

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