Lexington Horse Community Rallies Around Victims of Barn Fire

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In fires like the one that burned a barn at Mercury Equine Center to the ground this weekend, the Lexington horse community has traditionally banded together to help. Fundraising efforts are already underway to help the center.

“Just so devastating,” Kitty Manganello said to her husband, Mike, as they surveyed the damage at their friends’ farm.

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The still smoldering remains frame a scene Kitty Manganello prays she will never have to see again.

“gonna take them a while to rebuild and get back into business,” she said to her husband.

As Manganello and her husband walked around they could see some of the bodies of the dozens of dead horses that still rest under the rubble. Clean up cannot begin until insurance agents assess the damage.

The Manganellos say as soon as they heard the news, they wanted to do something to help the farm’s owners, the Reed family.

They started an online fundraiser and dropped off some supplies at the farm.

“All the horror that went through them horses minds as the place was burning up. It’s just a horrible thing to happen,” Mike Manganello said.

The Lexington horse community has seen devastation like this before. They know how easy it is for barns to go up in flames and how hard it can be to get horses out.

“Just important that the community comes together and they always do,” Kitty Manganello said.

She and her husband know firsthand how supportive the community can be. Kitty says she grew up owning horses. Mike is a Kentucky Derby winning jockey.

“Horses know the feeling you have for them. It’s just something they feel,” Mike Manganello said.

It is a bond Lindsy Reed knows too. She grew up in her family’s training barns

“Out of the four kids, I was the horse kid,” Reed said.

She was working as main groom for the babies, in the barn that is now destroyed.

“Devastating. Devastating is the only word for it,” Reed said.

“Those horses were my kids is how I felt and when I found out that the ones I took care of were gone, all of them, it shattered me in ways I don’t think I’ve ever been shattered before,” Reed said.

She and her family take solace in the dozen or so horses that survived.

“I know how we are here. We keep moving forward. We do hold them in our memories and in our hearts forever. We’ll never forget those horses,” Reed said.

Her community will remember too.

“Do all we can to help,” Mike Manganello said, walking away from the site of the fire.

“Yeah, that we will,” Kitty Manganello responded.

The Manganellos say the Reed family needs help purchasing new supplies and paying for the medical care of three horses at an equine hospital for burn treatment. So far, almost $8,000 have been donated online.

If you would like to contribute, you can learn more about what the Reed family needs here.

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Veronica Jean Seltzer joins ABC 36 as Anchor/Reporter. On most weekdays, you will see her reporting the news. VJ hails from a small horse farm outside New York City and most recently comes from South Bend, Indiana where she reported for the CBS and Fox affiliates. VJ holds a Master of Science in Journalism degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University. Her passion for journalism runs deep. It began as she studied graffiti as an ancient form of communication in Athens, Greece. While a student journalist in Morocco, she learned her most important journalistic lesson: good stories are about people. VJ loves life in and around Lexington. She feels most at home among horses and a diverse community of fascinating people. She enjoys reporting during the week and on the weekend she strives to bring her neighbors the news that matters most to them. VJ enjoys going to neighborhood events, exploring, horseback riding, skiing, sailing, and good movies. Look for her out and about in the community! VJ invites you to reach out to her with story ideas or just to say hello! Find her on Facebook at Veronica Jean Seltzer ABC 36, tweet her @VJS_ABC36, or email her at VSeltzer@wtvq.com. She looks forward to hearing from you!