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Two dozen horses evacuated during flood : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Two dozen horses evacuated during flood
Southern Kendall County stable damaged

by Matt Schury


Among those displaced by floodwaters last week were the owners of AliBoo Farm in Seward Township in southeastern Kendall County who had to evacuate two dozen horses from their property.

The farm on McKanna Road near Minooka was flooded under several feet of water following heavy rains last week that caused the nearby Aux Sable Creek to rise dramatically.

Janet Flury, who owns the farm, said it was quite an ordeal getting the horses off the property including Role Model a nationally ranked mare who has won Horse of the Year.

Janet said they had to walk the horses through swiftly moving waist deep water to Route 52 and load them onto trailers. Half the horses went to the nearby Ellis House and Equestrian Center owned by the Kendal County Forest Preserve. The other half went to a farm in Big Rock.

At the height of the flood the Flury's home was only accessible by canoe. Janet said she and members of her family stayed at their home and would visit their horses at Ellis by canoe to feed them until the water subsided last Friday.

"The fire department of course extended us the request that we leave but my husband and I decided that we were not going to leave the farm," she said.

Janet added that she couldn't thank the volunteers enough who helped get the horses off the property.

"The response to our situation from neighbors and strangers and fellow horsemen alike has been nothing short of miraculous and kind and generous," she said.

The horses returned to the property Monday night after the clean up was finished.

Janet's daughter, Alison Flury, said 24 horses were moved from the property, ranging in age from babies to older mature horses, each weighing about 1,200 pounds.

"We had to evacuate all of our horses off the farm," she said. "We were swimming them through water to get them out."

She said they arrived at the farm about 5 a.m. last Thursday and began sand bagging to keep the water away until it broke through around 8 a.m. and the horses need to be evacuated. The farm was already under two to three feet of water and they couldn't walk through the barn without wading through water, Alison said. By about 2 p.m. last Thursday the horses were off the property, she said, though by then the water had reached their house and offices.

"It was nerve-wracking to say the least," she said, adding that they have never had to evacuate the property before. "It would have been a great episode of 'Survivor.'"

Most of the horses took it in stride.

"We were actually very surprised, I think it is partially because they have such trust and respect for us and they're confident," she said. "They were a little nervous but they went through the water, which is a good thing because it could have been a lot more difficult if they would have been refusing to go."

Local fire rescue personnel came out with boats and helped them get their dogs out. Alison thanked the Oswego Fire Protection District for their help.

"With the horses we had to take a raft because we couldn't walk or swim back to the Ellis House because the current was so bad and they gave us a ride back in the afternoon," she said.

Ellis the island

The Kendall County Forest Preserve District's Ellis House and Equestrian Center, just west of AliBoo, also experienced flooding last week though the horses on that farm did not need to be evacuated.

County Forest Preserve Director Jason Pettit said the rising waters did cause an inconvenience.

He added that they didn't get a chance to put sandbags around the property

"The water just came up really quickly," Pettit said.

He said it got to the point where the only way to get in and out of the house was by boat.

"It became it's own little island there, we had water all the way around it," he said.

He said when the Ellis family owned the farm they built the home and stable up higher than the rest of the property.

"Everything has pretty much drained away now and we were able to get in there and do a little clean up," Pettit said, adding that they did get some water in the basement that came through a broken window well. "Overall it doesn't look like we have too much real bad damage."

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