Redstone Arsenal to close down horse stables - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Redstone Arsenal to close down horse stables

Source: Garrison PAO Chris Colster Source: Garrison PAO Chris Colster
(WAFF) -

Redstone is shutting down the horse stables on the Arsenal.

WAFF 48 News spoke exclusively to concerned owners, who say they're upset about the timeline they've been given to move out.

The stables on Redstone Arsenal have been there for more than 30 years, but now horse owners have been given just a few weeks to find a new location to board their horses.

About 70 privately owned horses currently live at the stables in the Redstone Saddle Activity club.

During a town hall meeting on Thursday, Garrison Commander Col. Thomas Holliday made the closure announcement to the nearly 40 patrons in attendance.

He said as times change and the Arsenal grows, it has become impossible to maintain the stable activity and the buildings have become unsafe.

Redstone's Veterinary Corps Officer, Capt. Erin Stein, says the buildings the horses live in have been condemned.

"This all started when we came out to do our monthly inspections for the health and welfare of the horses. While we were out there, we started seeing structural and significant safety concerns for the animals," said Stein.

The Garrison Public Affairs office confirmed, once the stables are gone, they’ll be replaced with a new road running from I-565 to the new Redstone gateway.

This is part of the master plan for Redstone within the next 2-5 years. Other expanding agencies on the Arsenal will also require parts of the 125-acre pastureland.

Holliday has given the horse owners 90 days to move out, but that deadline could potentially be extended.

"I appreciate all the patrons' participation and support tonight as we work towards a solution that ensures their safety and the safety of their animals," said Holliday.

But Pamela Millin says, that's not enough time.

"It's really just devastating. Horses have long been part of military tradition. For it to all just go away, that's hard enough, but the timeline is really the most devastating part," said Millin.

She added, “Horses have long been a part of activities such as Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, therapeutic riding, etc., and we can no longer participate in community outreach if we're not here. Also, I'd like to make an appeal to the horse community, that if anyone is able to help house any of our horses during this time, it would be greatly appreciated. Because the local horse community is saturated, there could very well soon be a crisis with homeless horses," said Millin.

Another horse owner (who didn't want to show her face) says she's just asking the Garrison to understand what they're now dealing with.

"We understand that the base is going to close this but 30-60-90 days just doesn't give anybody a chance of survival with this."

The club is set to officially close Monday, May 1st.

Holliday issued the following statement in response to the closing: 

The Saddle activity on Redstone Arsenal will not be accepting new animals for boarding after May 1, 2017. 

Recent inspections showing the structures used for the animals fail to meet federal standards raises health and safety issues that cannot be remedied within budget restrictions. Therefore, the Garrison Commander is preparing to close the facility. 

Patrons are being notified of these issues and that the Redstone Arsenal Garrison will work with patrons to implement a closure schedule that allows for the orderly transition of animals to other facilities. 

We understand and regret that some patrons may be inconvenienced, but our top concern is for the safety of the patrons who visit the facility and the animals boarded there.

In the meantime, the horse owners WAFF talked to are also asking for the Tennessee Valley community’s help.

They're looking for locations to house the horses during this time of transition.

Contact the DFMWR Outdoor Recreation Manager at 256-876-4868.

If you are able to help find a new home for some of the displaced horses, please email: RSASaveOurHorses@gmail.com

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