Road to Recovery

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Talley Hutcherson and her daughter, Connemara, look to recover and rebuild after the Woolsey Fire burned part of the Connemara Ranch. The ranch was home to 10 horses, which were taken to Zuma Beach in the initial hours of the fire. They were then split up and evacuated to Santa Barbara and Ojai.

Talley Hutcherson has lived and worked in Malibu for 40 years, originally coming to town as a Pepperdine student.  Her business, Connemara Ranch on Cavalleri Road in Malibu, has 10 horses and offered trail rides in Zuma Canyon as well as equine therapy to Malibu rehab clients. 

The day after the fire, her income and business activity plummeted to zero, where it remains. The money she made from taking people on trail rides ended when the National Park Service closed Zuma Canyon due to fire damage—and the park remains closed until further notice. Income from equine therapy ended because, she said, “most of the rehabs were burned out in the fires.”

“In one day, I completely lost all my income and my business has been shut down,” Hutcherson wrote. “I have no way to feed my horses and take care of my life financially. I applied to FEMA and other organizations, but was told I didn’t qualify for assistance. I started getting unemployment checks, but it’s only about $80 a week.”

“I’ve lived through many fires and have always been able to survive, but this fire has burned up everything for miles,” Hutcherson continued. “There’s nothing left but waiting for the parks to reopen, and even that’s been delayed with the government shutdown and mudslides.”

The 10 horses were evacuated for a time during the fire, but are back on the ranch, and their care and feeding costs about $6,000 a month. That doesn’t even count what Hutcherson needs to support herself.

“As my only source of income is taking people on trail rides and equine therapy, I am realizing that I will need assistance to get my horses settled and cared for until I can return to work,” a description on their GoFundMe fundraiser read.

For more about the Connemara Ranch and to donate, visit gofundme.com/support-for-connemara-ranch-horses or malibulove.org/families/2018/12/17/talley-amp-the-connemara-ranch-horses.