Bill and Wanalynn Chapman may have lost everything they own after Sunday’s torrential downpour that sent Dry Creek out over its banks and through their entire neighborhood, including their home, barns and horse stables.
The couple owns WW Miniature Horse Farm, and on Monday the Chapmans mourned the death and disappearance of more than a dozen animals that were swept away by the swift water that flowed freely across their property.
The couple said they lost five dwarf horses, one mare, a gelding a stallion and five goats. Another stallion and mare are missing along with one donkey.
“They’re all double registered. They’re high dollar horses,” Wanalynn said, adding that the horses were more than just an investment.
“The other stuff don’t matter to me,” she said.
“There were 15 mares in the back and they were huddled up on a high place,” she said. “They all made it but one and that’s the one we can’t find.”
Bill said around 2 a.m. the water started receding so he went to check the horses. He found one stuck in mud up to its neck and dug it out.
“Dry Creek isn’t dry no more,” Bill Chapman said, a quiver in his voice as he remembered the horror of being unable to save his horses.
“We started in 1997 in the horse business. Right now we’re out of the horse business,” he said.
Chapman was home alone when the downpour started late Sunday afternoon. Before he knew what was happening, water began to surround the house and barns.
He was able to rescue one prize miniature stallion by taking it into his house, but he was unable to rescue any others. As he led that one stallion through the water, others in the herd were swimming in fear in the deep water.
“I just throwed a rope around his neck and headed for the house. By the time I got to the house, it was up to here,” he said, pointing to the top of his thigh.
“I was trapped inside and couldn’t get out. By 7 o’clock I was stuck. It was four feet deep in the house. It looked like a raging river out here,” Chapman said. His wife arrived home, but was unable to get through a swift moving current of water across the driveway.
She sat there until around 2:30 a.m. before she was able to wade through the water to her house. By that time, the couple discovered several horses and donkeys missing while other animals were dead, including a group of goats.
The survivors were obviously agitated Monday as they tromped around what was once a tranquil home surrounded by a lush pasture.
“We lost all our fences. All the buildings, all the shelter for the animals,” Wanalynn Chapman said. Four hundred bales of hay in one of the remaining barns is ruined and thousands of dollars worth of tools are just gone, Bill Chapman said.
“There’s nothing but a slab there,” he said about his shop. What’s left standing, including their home, is likely damaged beyond repair.
But none of that was as heart wrenching as losing their prized possessions — the animals.
“I don’t care about the rest of it,” she said, her voice faltering with grief.
The second kick in the gut for the Chapmans, and many others, is that their homeowners insurance will not cover the losses because of the flood clause included in policies.
Bill Chapman said his insurance agent with State Farm told him the damage won’t be covered.
“They won’t cover a thing,” he said.