Response from the owner - a week ago
There is a "haters campaign" directed toward us. Here is the TRUTH. Cypress Trails does have plans for the evacuation of horses. In 2015 there were 2 evacuations which took place, which in the end were not required after all.
Mon 18th April.
2am - Darolyn had been regularly checking the internet flood gauges and rainfall sites from midnight onwards. Up until 2am everything was still ok with the levels the river was at about 55'. 12 ft. Over normal.
3am - 4" fell, the river incredibly rose to about 62' at this point, I could move 5 vehicles and 3 trailers out, or I could move horses, I chose horses. By Tuesday, I lost all of my vehicles.
3:30 AM The horses were moved out of the Arena to stalls in the House/Barn & North pastures by the river to House/Barn (higher ground). Darolyn saddled up to collect the N. pasture horses which followed her into the barn, then when they were being collected with halters, the horses spooked & broke out of the barn. Running into the flood water on the south side, the current scattered the herd of 10. Several horses got tangled in the cable fencing of the Arena Paddock due to the level of the water. These were later seen on the TV. Darolyn & an employee, Hoku, swam to the Arena to rescue horses, they were only just able to swim there as current too strong to go back. Hoku, sitting on a fence, held the horse, Amber's head above water until the water got a foot higher & she was able to disentangle herself from the fencing she had gotten in.
5am – to the west upon the Cypress Creek watershed, 13 to 15"s had fallen. Another 4"s fell here, the river now at 65' (nearly 2' above the river bank). The law enforcement arrived with rescue boats, their priority was to rescue people and not horses. Darolyn and Hoku were rescued from the Arena where they had been stuck after swimming there 2.5 hours earlier. The TV pictures of horses stuck in the floods now came from around this time. No horses were tied to any fences or poles but some horses were entangled in cable fences now underwater. (All but one got out.)
7 AM There were no horses in the single story barn which can be seen with just its roof above the water, all these horses had been safely evacuated much earlier. Confusion on this occurred because there is what is call a "barn" under Darolyn's house.
11am - the river now 6' above its banks, in a boat I supervised volunteers helping to rescue horses from the south pastures (which was the high ground) of the ranch. Justin Nelzen, Devan Horn, Mark Jensen and many others contributed to heroic rescues throughout the day as they snagged horses out of the currents and got them to safety.
2: PM after Corrie Patrick, Tracy Taylor, and Krista Mohn had pushed 20 plus horses through nearby woods to the neighbors. A group of 6 or 7 horses broke away from being almost contained at the neighbors ranch and returned to the farm. When they reached their home trails and made their way to the house/barn, two split off for the evacuation area on the road and were caught, two headed toward the barn, and two ended up getting swept into the creek. Almost to safety, One of the barn direction horses failed to go in the barn and, he too, was swept in the creek. Devan Horn ended up seeing him caught in bank brush and went in the creek and guided him to safety. The other two are two of the missing ones.
4 PM Later in the day the final 12-14 horses in the house barn were swum to safety with the aid of a power boat and rider for guiding. All horses were guided to the South pasture edge where the water was shallow enough for them to walk, and then to the access road and a waiting trailer.
The massive amounts of rain in the west water shed (12"-17") contributed to the rapid rise in the river level, as well as water released from the Conroe dam. Prior to this event, There have only been 2 horses lost to flooding at Cypress Trails back in 2002. No horses were tied up and left in the flood water.