As Jessica Dabkowski and Novo the mustang won the Grand Championship at the Fort Collins 2012 Extreme Mustang Makeover at Colorado State University’s B.W. Pickett Equine Center on June 10, the High Park Fire was raging in the surrounding foothills.
Dabkowski loaded the little horse in her trailer to return home after their amazing, but intense, weekend. Novo was sold at the event’s auction, and the new owner asked Dabkowski to continue training the mustang for at least 60 days.
But en route to Bonner Peak Ranch Road, Dabkowski’s husband, Bob, called to advise they’d just received evacuation orders for their neighborhood. Arriving home, Novo was unloaded and allowed a hay snack and five minutes in his stall and then loaded back into the trailer behind other horses. Dabkowski said he remained a trooper throughout.
The horses were dropped off at Dabkowski’s lesson barn in Wellington. Then she and Bob returned home before the road was closed. They were quite certain that their property was not in immediate jeopardy, but had removed the horses — just in case — while daylight and road access was good. Until evacuation order was lifted on June 14, Dabkowski caught up on other chores, kept abreast of fire developments and helped out at neighbors’ properties.