PERRYSBURG (WTVG) - When the Maumee River surged over it's banks last week, water and ice engulfed River Hollow Farm in Perrsyburg.
The farm was built along River Road in 1966. It also took a direct hit from water and ice in 2015, but the owners say this flooding is a lot worse.
Some of the horses are back in the barn tonight. It's a much different story than last Wednesday night when the more than two dozen horses had to be led to safety.
The water was chest deep in the stalls, and it all happened in a matter of minutes. Leah Smaller is an assistant trainer at the farm.
She says it quickly became clear it was time to evacuate all the animals, "I was amazed at how fast we were able to get everybody out of the barn. It's not easy to move a lot of horses all at once, but they seemed to know we were taking them to higher ground."
The high water was followed by what owner Larry Hutson describes as a wall of ice, "It was dark so we couldn't see anything, but we could hear the noise of the trees cracking. We were standing by the road expecting to see the barn float by."
Larry says the water receded quickly, but it left a lot of clean up work in its wake, "It did quite a bit of damage to the exterior of the barn. It also heavily damaged the trees and landscaping. We can't ride in the indoor arena, we are pumping water out of it right now. The furnaces all flooded. However, even with all that the barn is structurally sound. Ice hit the exterior doors, but those doors are what stopped the ice from coming in."
Friends, family and even strangers showed up to help. Leah says everyone at River Hollow is forever grateful for that,"There were a lot of people in our parking lot with trailers and holding horses. Some of them we didn't know, they just heard we were in need of help. It was amazing. It was such a nice feeling to know we were not alone in all this."
The horses were taken to several different barns. Some are still at those other farms. The horses that compete at shows will stay at another farm for several weeks to keep them conditioned for competition.
Leah says ten horses came home Monday and others will come back Wednesday, "They were all very happy at the other barns. Everyone was so nice and welcoming, but the horses are happy to be home. I'm happy they're home too."
Outside pasture fences were snapped like match sticks. Riding rings are full of ice and Larry says that won't change anytime soon, "It's frustrating because you can't do anything outside until everything melts. It will be at least a month before we can get to work outside. We'll just have to do a little bit at a time."
Amid all this destruction,there is hope. Larry says as spring begins, so will the rebuilding process, "We're staying here. We love this place. We plan to rebuild, it will just take some extra time."
River Hollow also flooded in 1978 and horses had to be evacuated that year as well.
The farm has been the back drop for a lot of weddings in recent years.
There are some planned for this year, but at this point the owners are not optimistic they'll be able to have everything cleaned up in time for that to happen.