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When Disaster Strikes: Bald Peak Fire, Corinne's Story

Last updated October 14, 2023 by Brad Heath

Corinne is the owner of a Double D Trailers SafeTack Reverse 3 Horse Bumper Pull. She and her horses were in the path of the Chehalem/Bald Peak fire and forced to evacuate. We had the chance to get her first-hand perspective of what it was like, and how her trailer was crucial to the safety of her and her horses.

You were in the path of the Chehalem/Bald Peak fire and forced to evacuate yourself and your horses in the middle of the night. Can you tell me a little more about your story?

Chehalem Mountain-Bald Peak Fire (Image Source: KPTV Fox 12 Oregon_Chehalem Mountain-Bald Peak Fire)I got a call at about 6:30pm on Tuesday 9/8 from my trainer at the farm with the news that there was a fire a half mile from the barn. At this time, we were in a level two warning/"Get Set," and she and our farm owner were making evacuation plans. It wasn't until about 8:45pm that I got the call to come get the horses. 

One big way our trailer is so wonderful, it seems to take half the time to hitch it up. Usually, my husband helps me hitch and drive, but he happened to be out of town for work. I had lots of help getting it ready to go, and got many compliments on how nice it is. We were blocked in by other trailers for about 45 minutes. As you can imagine, many stressed out people and unhappy loaders caused a little longer load up and go process. I am so glad to have such a nice piece of equipment! I was so much less stressed having my two horses evacuating in their familiar rig.

The interior lights are awesome. Feels like you are loading into a lit room, not a candle lit box. Great for the horses, great for the people. My young warmblood had basket surgery last year on his cervical spine. I LOVE the side ramp with the window! I can load him, he puts his head out while we trailer tie him and close him in. Gives him plenty of neck room while he settles in his spot. He also has plenty of room to back up when we close the window without hitting his butt on the other side. Makes him more comfortable, especially being a big guy.

Also, he appreciates that the slant has the butt and chest bar. He isn't the most stable of travelers and he can balance all four sides in this front spot. The low ramp is also a winner for any horse, but especially the recovering neurologic cases. We loaded up in under 5 minutes, and hit the road. We also didn't get out until about 11pm. Our barn driveway is steep and narrow. The rocks are loose in some places, we had many trailers get stuck. I am not sure if it is the truck and trailer combo or trailer weight distribution, we never have any trouble getting in and out of the driveway. I had help driving to our evacuation site, and our driver was really enjoying how smooth the trailer hauled. 

What was your experience like evacuating with the trailer, and at the refugee stables?

On our way to the evacuation site, we did encounter a fallen tree on a narrow road. As with the interior lights being awesome, so are the lights on the rear of the trailer! It was dark, I turned those on, and wow do they light up the rear. So glad for this feature, as well as all the tracking lights. Made it very easy to back into a small driveway to turn around. Also, having the wheel wells designed as they are, helps with those tricky turnarounds! Once we got to our destination, I had help unloading. I am 7 months pregnant and I have a very protective group that doesn't want me to get smooshed. Fortunately, my horses are good boys too. Not biased at all 🙂 My unloading helpers loved that they had so many ways to unload. We can back them out, my smaller horse can turn around and walk off, or they can both walk off the side ramp. The side ramp is my preferred unloading method. The girls loved the lights, unloading options, and the fact that there are many ways to get out of the trailer to avoid accident or injury! Also, we have some nervous sweaters in our bunch. The horse trailer window and vents for air circulation are spot on. Helps with the "hot" travelers, even when they aren't leaving a fire. 

When it was time to go home, we went back and hauled two friends home. One of them is a nervous loader. His owner loved all the escape spots and room she had loading. Both her horses are 17+ hands, big boys! With our design, not likely to get trapped in there with your horse. Also, her tricky loader walked right on, we didn't have any struggle. She was so excited about that and loved the trailer. 

Basically, anywhere I go with this trailer I have people walking up to see it and want to know where we got it. My trainer does tours in it at the barn whenever she has a client trailer shopping. It's well designed, well built, and user friendly. My horses like it, I like it, they travel well, load well, and with my small old horse and my young recovering neurologic it is PERFECT. Easy for them to walk on and off, no backing off a step up (I hate that!!), and doesn't cramp them in like sardines. 

Thanks so much to Corinne for sharing her story with us, and educating how the Double D Trailers SafeTack design is so important for safety. No one expects things like this to happen to them, but unfortunately none of us are exempt from disaster.

To learn more about how to create a fire evacuation plan for your farm, check out our safety article here

If you have any more questions, feel free to contact Brad

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