GoHorseShow is sad to report that horse trainers, Larry and Rhonda Spratto's barn burned to the ground Thursday morning. According to reports, 13 horses were lost in the Pickett, Wisconsin fire after the barn was hit by lightning.
Christa Baldwin of Stanton, Michigan, an AQHA judge and friend of the Larry and Rhonda, says she was heartbroken when she heard the news.
"I am just sick to say the least. Rhonda and Larry have always put their horses first and loved them like they were their own. They have enjoyed training and people have enjoyed training with them for the right reasons. Rhonda and Larry compliment each other so well as she is an accomplished english rider and showman winning at the highest levels," Baldwin told GoHorseShow. "Larry has always been known for his starting and finishing the western rider long before it became one of the industry's most popular classes."
Baldwin adds, "They have always had such talent and great compassion for the horse and my heart goes out to them! They are just incredible people to know. I consider them very close friends and they are in my thoughts and prayers. I am just devastated!"
Horse trainer Becki Schwab of Plymouth, Wisconsin says that she has known Larry and Rhonda for over 20 years, and have become very close friends with them.
Many people have been expressing their condolences on Larry Spratto's Facebook page including Marcia Freeman who posted, "Rhonda and Larry, my heart aches for you today....we all know how passionate you are with your client's horses. Our thoughts are with you on this difficult day."
Pickett is an unincorporated
community located in Winnebago
From Larry Spratto: The cause of the fire
was a lightning strike, which hit the transformer and the power box in
the barn. We did have lightning rods on the barn, they melted. The
motorhome was parked next to the barn and ignited from the heat from the
barn fire. I know on some sites people were asking about lightning rods
and barns, and we did have them, but the strike was severe enough that
the rods were ineffective. Hope this clears up some of the stories. We
are on the mend, taking it one day at a time. Still hear from horse
people everyday, which is helping more than they realize.
GoHorseShow has set up a ChipIn account page to help Rhonda and Larry
Spratto. ChipIn is a web-based service that simplifies the process of
money from groups of people. It is quick, easy, and
secure. All proceeds will go to Larry and Rhonda Spratto. Special thanks
to Debbi Trubee of Pine View Farm for the extremely generous first
donation of $2,500.
Please CLICK HERE to donate money! GoHorseShow.com readers have raised over $7,500 as of 5/7!
of Larry and Rhonda Spratto have opened an account at the Gurnee
Community Bank to help them recover from the devastation they
encountered due to a barn fire, resulting in the loss of 13 horses.
Donations can be made in the name of Crisis Fund c/o Larry and Rhonda
Spratto and can be sent to:
Gurnee Community Bank 675 N. O’Plaine Gurnee, IL. 60031
Thoughts and prayers are with you, Larry and Rhonda, also extending to all those who lost their 4-legged "kids" in the tragedy. We have always respected and appreciated your work with the horses, and thank you for being such an example of goodness on the show circuit.
Amelia Aldrich, Becky Schultz, and General News (Newsie)
Larry and Rhonda are new neighbors to me as i just moved into the neighborhood from previously just a few towns away. I have 2 good friends that had horses in the fire. So very sorry for all the loss in the neighborhood. things were very quiet lastnight. My boyfirend is also one of the firefighters that responded, he assured me that there was just nothing they could do to save the horses. by the time they got paged out, the barn was almost completely gone. Being a horse owner myself and knowing what it feels like to feel the loss of a horse. my depest condolances go out to everyone envolved. Such a loss will never be forgotten. Such great show horses will be forever missed.
Although this time is so very difficult for those left behind, I hope you all can find peace soon. I am sure God placed His loving hands on those beautiful animals as they made their way into His kingdom. Although their hoofbeats don't echo on earth any longer, they will always echo in the hearts of those who loved them and they will be reunited again.
Larry and Rhonda trained a few of our horses years ago and were always both great people to us and to our horses. We sincerely wish them and all their clients who all are suffering with this terrible loss only the best. What a sad day for the horse industry.