An article in October 2009 FarmLife told of the Quams’ devastating fire. Now their centre is rebuilt and reopening.
Cain and Roberta Quam can hardly believe their eyes as they survey their new riding arena, heated barn and spectator mezzanine.
In the last few months, the Quams and their friends and family have poured sweat and tears into recreating the massive horse-training operation in Kendal, Saskatchewan, that burned to the ground in July, 2009.
“If it wasn’t for the donations and support we received, we wouldn’t be here,” says Cain. “We would have had to declare bankruptcy and we would be working someplace else. I may have been able to get a job training horses, or I may have had to switch to another field.”
The lifeline that was extended to the Quams in order to allow them to build their new 18-horse barn, 14,000-square-foot riding arena and 650-square-foot spectator mezzanine was a cash injection of $35,000, most of which was raised at a silent auction in Montmartre, Sask. and some of which came in the form of individual and horse association contributions. The donated money allowed the Quams to pay their bills and buy groceries over the months as their training facility was being rebuilt.
Other donations which have allowed the Quams to carry on have come in the form of tack, as $65,000 worth of saddles, halters and bridles went up in flames. With the training of horses finally getting underway at Cain Quam Performance Horses this spring, the Quams have a fully equipped tack room thanks to
the generosity of friends in the horse industry.
The insurance policy on the former 2,700-square-foot heated barn, 10,800-square-foot riding arena, tool shed and $90,000 of tack and tools did not cover the cost of replacement. However, Cain says he was able to rebuild thanks to a constant stream of volunteer labour and thanks to a loan arrangement with Farm Credit Corporation.
Cain completed most of the horse facility’s concrete work and plumbing himself with the help of his hired man, Michael Wichert, and local professionals who were always there to help out and give advice.
“I had the local plumber, electrician and electronics guy all on speed dial, and they were always there to get me a part or tell me what to do,” says Cain, explaining that almost $200,000 in labour costs were saved on the $600,000 rebuild project.
Many neighbours also lent helping hands, with one area farmer working alongside Quam almost every day for the past six months. Marcel Bachelu donated over $15,000 of backhoe work, in addition to doing
a lot of the woodwork inside the barn. He spent countless volunteer hours putting in windows and doors, and working with Roberta to install pine panels on the entire 650-square-foot mezzanine which overlooks the large arena.
“It’s a gift we can never repay. We hope to pay him something, but basically, he says, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ It’s hard to get your head around the fact that someone would do something like that and not expect anything in return.”
Both Cain and Roberta say the fire has changed their outlook on life in so many ways, not the least of which is an appreciation for the people around them.
And while the fire was devastating, the Quams agree it was a miracle that no one was in the barn at the time of the fire and that the 23 horses that were in training were out for a three-week summer break.
Cain says he can’t wait to get back to horse training, and the fact that most of his clients are eager to return and even the horses are sometimes waiting at the barn door, gives him hope for the future.
“These months have really cleared my mind and I think I’m going to be more focused and better at my job because I’m craving it again,” says Cain. “I realize now how much I’ve missed the whole thing — the horses, the training, the refinement of my communication skills, helping people with their horses — all of it.”
For more information on upcoming clinics, visit www.quamperformancehorses.com.
— Cain Quam
“If it wasn’t for the donations and support we received, we wouldn’t be here”