Jan Pittman arrived at this year’s Quarter Horse Congress a bit ahead of schedule.
Pittman lives in a home on the beach in Panama City, Florida and was under a mandatory hurricane evacuation order. She’s worried.
“It’s the first time in my life I wonder if I’ll have a home to come back to,” Pittman said.
Pittman and trainer Scott Kesney arrived in Ohio with three horses scheduled to compete this weekend. They left more than 30 other horses behind on Pittman’s ranch — about 45 miles inland from the Gulf coast.
Kesney said other ranch employees stayed back on the ranch — but the concern is the hurricane force winds.
“We worry about debris. We worry about roofs caving in,” Kesney said. “There’s a couple of structures there that are rated a little bit higher than others and we just hope that it all holds and our horses are safe.”
Kesney said its stressful coming to compete at the Quarter Horse Congress each year. She said having a hurricane on their heels only adds to their anxiety.
Pittman has many good memories of competing in Columbus. She has won the event a number of times. But she will remember this year for other things.
“I’m worried for the animals,” Pittman said. “I’m worried for my friends that decided to stay, worried for my staff that stayed behind. It’s very heart-wrenching.”