By ELSA HORTAREAS
Foothills Focus Contributing Writer
unkapi Programs in Scottsdale took in 15 horses displaced from the Ocotillo fire in Cave Creek on May 31.
None of the 15 horses were injured, but they were in a barn that was in the line of fire. The fire was previously thought to have been contained but jumped a road near where the horses were housed. They were from a facility near Spur Cross and Cave Creek roads.
Terra Schaad, the founder and CEO of Hunkapi Programs, heard of the fires and posted on Facebook post that Hunkapi farm had extra stalls available. The farm then got a call from the emergency organization Arizona Foothills 911, saying 20 horses needed shelter.
A few hours later, 15 horses arrived at Hunkapi farms, delivered by Arizona Foothills 911. Arizona Foothills 911 is a nonprofit that headed the rescue of all the horses in danger of the fire.
Around 11:30 a.m. May 31, Schaad further explained on Facebook that they needed help for the extra horses. By 4:30 p.m., Hunkapi farms had 40 volunteers ready to help. Typically, it has five to 15 volunteers.
“It really speaks highly of the community and how willing they are to help and support people and animals in need,” Schaad said.
The volunteers brought fans, hay, love and effort, Schaad said. The fans were especially needed, as Hunkapi farm’s extra barn was without them.
The horses were housed, fed, watered, given electrolytes, walked and turned out by the volunteers.
“They had a lot of chaos for one day,” Schaad said. She said animals are scared when they’re moved. They were spooked at first, but by June 1 they had settled in. “They calmed down pretty quickly,” Schaad said.
They were kept at Hunkapi Programs for 48 hours, leaving when the fire was contained on June 2. They were able to return to their same home, as it was damaged very little.
Schaad said the organization typically doesn’t foster horses. Many of their horses are rescue horses. Its 24 horses are used for equine therapy for those with autism spectrum, attention deficit, oppositional defiant, emotional, addiction and post-traumatic stress disorders. Its goal is to use the bond between horse and human as a catalyst for positive growth in the lives of its participants.
“We just have a big heart for helping animals, because we use animals for therapy,” she said.
Schaad said that she, and her whole facility, enjoyed housing the extra horses.
“Especially now that there is so much chaos in the world,” Schaad said. “It was really important for us to practice extending a hand.”
Schaad said she hopes her farm is always a refuge for other farms but also a place for community members to volunteer and give back.
The farm’s needs
Over the course of the afternoon, monetary donations, supplies and volunteers came pouring in to care for these horses. Unfortunately, Hunkapi Farms still has current needs to care for the animals. The farms’ business address is 12051 N. 96th Street, Scottsdale. For more information, call 480-393-0870.
Its wish list is at hunkapi.org/donate/#wishlist
• Five mini halters
• Five mini fly masks
• Seven small Arabian horse fly masks
• Fly spray
• Eye wash
• 10 salt blocks
• $50 per horse for shavings