Fundraiser for Charles Town horsemen set

Lost in the fire

The Charles Town HBPA will hold a fundraiser next week for horsemen and women who lost a “lifetime investment” along with their racehorses in the fire that leveled four barns and killed 29 horses last week.

Fire victims who were using private stables not associated with the Charles Town Races were not covered by the casino and track’s insurance policy, according to Ken Lowe, president of the Charles Town HBPA .

The need is great.

“The affected owners have not only suffered the emotional toll of losing (their horses), but also have lost a lifetime investment,” Lowe says.

As Lowe and owners, and scores of others continue to grapple with the aftermath of the multi-alarm fire that raced through four barns Sept. 6, a fundraiser has been set for Sept. 21 in West Virginia.

It will be held at Dish Bistro, 213 W. Washington St., Charles Town, West Virginia, from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. For those who can attend, guests are invited to share music and poetry and help “raise awareness” of the loss.

For those wishing to make a donation, checks should be mailed to:

Charles Town Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, Inc.
835 East Washington St., Suite 106
P.O. Box 581
Charles Town, WV 25414

The HBPA asks that donors write “Fire and Disaster Account” in the memo line of the check, and direct inquiries to their office: 304-725-1535.

In addition to donations, CANTER Mid Atlantic also donated first aid equipment, dewormers, bandages, etc. And Stablemates Tack Shop in Mt. Airy is still collecting donations of blankets and other necessities. Please visit the Stablemates website for more information.

Ken Lowe wrote Spirit of 29

Losing a horse in the fire “was a little like a kick in the gut” writes Kelly Utter, of CANTER Mid Atlantic. In her blog Calabria Rose, she explains that a CANTER horse died in the blaze.

Describing her reaction to the aftermath, she writes, “The cleanup has been ongoing, so much of the mess was already gone. But there is just something about that empty space that hit me really hard.

“Of course, life goes on—the “ghetto” stabling was abuzz with activity, horses coming and going from the pool, the vet’s office, and the training track. Goats were bleating from the temporary stable, and cats and kittens were running everywhere. At the racetrack, I suppose, there’s not a lot of time to dwell on tragedy.”

Although Lowe can’t be said to dwell—there is far too much to do, with fundraisers and cleanup, he did write the following poem to describe his reaction:

Spirit of 29

There’s something magical ‘bout a horse
no matter the distance
no matter the course.

However she canters
or how he stands
whether they’re short
or 17 hands.

Foals in the springtime
when the grass turns green.

Magnificent creatures that love to run
like a smooth machine.

Wind whispering through the trees
on a crisp autumn day
or, 3-year-old thoroughbreds training
for a special race in May.

We must never forget their majesty and grace
always remembering their beauty,
even if they don’t race.

For now, while fresh,
we hurt with this pain,
but please never forget;
don’t let their deaths go in vain.

Remember this September Labor Day,
we carry in our mind
never to be forgotten
the Spirit of 29. — Ken Lowe

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