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Stepping Stone Farm Barn Fire

(Editor’s note: some of the following information was derived from the Birmingham News.)


Moody, Ala. - Courtney Huguley’s Stepping Stone Farm in Moody, Ala. Burned to the ground on Tuesday, April 10th around noon. The structure and contents are a total loss. Eight horses perished, including Bitters, Marik's Trilogy, Hightime's Top Choice, Stylish Annie Dare, Twist of Lemon, Bay O'Shea, CF Prince's Night Out, and Shamrock's Boogie Man. Due to the valiant efforts of Courtney and one employee, 18 horses survived the fire. Several Alabama Saddlebred barns came to assist, and horses are comfortably stabled and receiving medical attention as necessary.

Huguley recently moved into a barn owned by the Woodrow family of Birmingham and previously occupied by trainer Jimmy Martin. She had done clearing and upgrading and was in the process of restoring the picturesque stable to its once grand status.

The Moody fire chief attributed the fire to embers that traveled from a brush fire on the farm grounds about 200 feet from the stable. The embers landed in a hay storage area and caught fire. At its peak, 18 firefighters battled the fire. Tuesday evening the grounds of the stable were still smoldering.

Seven horses died in the stable, and one horse with severe burns was euthanized by a veterinarian, said Mariam Reagan, Huguley’s mother. Reagan said her daughter and about four other people Tuesday morning were unloading a trailer used over the weekend at a horse show when they noticed smoke coming from the barn.

Reagan said her daughter ran to the barn in an effort to save the horses. Firefighters had to bring Huguley out of the burning structure.

Of the eight horses that died, six were show horses and two were lesson horses. The horses ranged in age from 4 to 21 years old. Reagan said the dead horses ranged in value from a couple thousand dollars to one worth at least $50,000.

Lori Feist had three horses boarded at Stepping Stone that were unharmed during the blaze. One horse, "Boo," that Feist previously owned, died in the fire.

"These horses were like family," she said. "They were priceless."

Huguley is an integral part of the backbone of the American Saddlebred industry in Alabama and the Southeast. With a successful lesson program and budding show string, she has garnered numerous championship titles from the National Academy Championships as well as top honors on the Southeastern Circuit.


“Courtney plays an important role in our industry,” stated James Hale, UPHA Ch. 8 Chairman, “We need trainers and instructors like her to grow the Saddlebred business in order for all of us to succeed.”


There are several ways for people to help. To help Courtney rebuild her needed inventory of tack and work equipment, an account has been set up at World Champion Horse Equipment in the name of Courtney Huguley/Stepping Stone Farm. Call 1-800-251-3490 to make a contribution by credit card or send checks to World Champion Horse Equipment, P.O. Box 1007, Shelbyville, TN 37162. Be sure to note on the "for" line that your check is for the Courtney Huguley account. Additionally, to help make your contributions go even further, World Champion is offering a discount to Courtney for all purchases made through this account. Go to World Champion Horse Equipment (EHorseEquipment) online by clicking here.


Other monetary contributions, tack donations, condolences and letters of encouragement should be sent to Courtney Huguley, 2685 Laburnum Drive, Birmingham, AL 35235.


James and Jackie Hale will be attending TSE Tattersalls Spring Sale this coming weekend, and will be happy to deliver any contributions and donations from others in attendance.

For additional information please contact Jeff and Kristy Leech at 256-582-7606 or James and Jackie Hale at 205-669-6649.

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