There are many stories from the California wildfires of 2017, but few as dramatic as the round up and rescue of 12 Arabian stallions and geldings that make up the Grande Liberté troupe.
Sylvia and her family drove with their horses from Williston Florida, to perform at a fund raiser for the Belos Cavalos therapeutic riding program. When Charlyn Belluzo, founder of the therapy program, came pounding on the door a little before midnight, it was to warn the family of the fire racing over the ridge less than a half mile away.
With the fire came 70 mile an hour winds, and as Sylvia, her husband Richie, and daughter Ambra ran to get their horses, what they found was horrifying.
The portable stalls were demolished and the horses were wild and running. With her heart pounding, Sylvia put liberty training to work and managed to herd the frenzied horses into an arena. In the dark, with no electricity, two of the horses refused to leave the area where the stalls lay in piles.
“They kept racing up to me, nostrils flaring, then running back to a pile of wood. All of a sudden I listened to what they were trying to tell me.” The third Amigo was missing, buried under debris, injured but alive. With their buddy saved, the Three Amigos rejoined the herd and were loaded onto their van and safety.