Community helps evacuate 53 horses as Canterbury fire looms

The racing and horse community were quick to leap into action as the large fire at Pegasus Beach, north of Christchurch, loomed near a stable.

Around 53 horses were evacuated from Diamond Racing’s stables at Woodend Beach overnight as fire and smoke got “a bit close”, Aimee Edmonds said.

They were flooded of offers of help from the harness and general horse community.

“Everyone has rallied around to help us get the horses off the property, which has been awesome.”

All the horses were in individual paddocks, so they needed to brought to the barns and then loaded onto floats before being taken to safety at other properties.

While the horses were calm, there was always the fear that one of them would spook and run through a fence, causing the rest of them to panic.

Next week was the NZ Cup and Show Week, and Edmonds said it wasn’t ideal preparation because they train on the beach.

They wouldn’t miss out on work, however.

“Their training is going to change for the next couple of days, but they are adaptable, this might just freshen them up for the big day,” she said.

Around 130 people from the Woodend Beach Holiday Park were evacuated overnight, and the 200ha fire continues to burn this morning.

Many other residents left their homes.