Maplewood Stables Offers First Responders Horse Handling & Safety Clinic

Maplewood Stables, Inc., is pleased to announce the inaugural First Responders Horse Handling & Safety Clinic, to be held Nov. 27 at Maplewood Stables in Reno, Nevada.

The clinic will be led by Maplewood's resident horse trainers and focuses on educating first responders and other good samaritans who would like to learn how to safely handle horses in emergency situations. The noon event will be free and open to the public, as well.

"After the recent Little Valley Fire that destroyed many homes and horse properties in the area, we thought this clinic would be a great way to help our local firefighters and police offers learn how to properly halter, lead and transport horses," said Julie Winkel, Maplewood owner and operator.

Winkel and her staff jumped into action in the early hours of Oct. 14 after the Little Valley fire was reported, and they assisted in the rescue and relocation of dozens of horses in the path of the flames. The fire ultimately destroyed 23 homes and 17 outbuildings in the Washoe Valley, including several horse barns.

Local hunter/jumper trainer Ashlin Bowen of Breakaway Farms lost her entire stable to the blaze as well as one young horse. In addition, the Healy family lost their home and ranch next door. The area horse community quickly responded to help those who lost their homes and barns, including Winkel, who donated 100 percent of the proceeds from Maplewood's October Halloween Horse Show to help Bowen rebuild.

Winkel herself experienced the devastation a fire can bring when in 2012 she lost her home. Maplewood's horses were safely evacuated during that fire, and the barn was spared, but Winkel is acutely aware of how close she came to losing more than her home and belongings. Since then, she's educated her staff on fire safety protocols, holds fire drills, and ensures that her horses are trained at an early age to easily and quickly load into horse trailers.

"As a victim of a wildfire myself, I'm aware of the dangers these events have on the property owners and first responders," she said. "Knowing how to safely approach and handle a horse can go along way toward keeping everyone safer in an emergency situation, including the people trying to evacuate the animals and the horses themselves."

In addition to learning how to properly catch, halter and lead a horse, attendees may also experience loading a horse into a trailer and will better understand how horses typically react to fires.

"We plan to make this clinic an annual community event," noted Winkel. "With the Washoe Valley and Pleasant Valley areas home to so many stables, barns and horses, we want to help educate those who might help us in the future."

For more information about Maplewood Stables and the First Responders Clinic, to be held Sunday Nov. 27 at 12 p.m., please contact us: or (775) 849-1849.

Tricia Booker