CAPE CORAL, Fla. — On Monday, an iconic family-owned business, Saddlewood Horse Club in Cape Coral said its hands are tied after Hurricane Ian decimated its property.
Co-owner Christiana Sdrenka told Fox 4 they have been a part of the community for over two decades.
“Saddlewood was a place where people would come together. everybody from as young as two, sometimes we even had first birthday parties and saw them dumping their head in their cake,” said Sdrenka.
On the walls inside Sdrenka's stables are pictures spanning over the years, now ripped from the walls by Hurricane Ian.
“You turn around you see the sky it's so beautiful and then you turn around and you see this…and there is nothing else but crying,” said Sdrenka.
On Monday, tears flowed from past memories of a place that Sdrenka said she no longer recognizes.
“So you see in the background there, the roof used to be, this was the heartbeat of Saddlewood,” said Sdrenka.
A heartbeat that can still be felt but is covered in destruction, including the home Sdrenka bought back in 2019 after moving to the states from Germany.
“If I have a house, that's nice, but if I can't feed my horses if I cannot make any money it doesn't do anything,” said Sdrenka.
That includes the 20 horses Saddlewood was still boarding.
Boarding horses were the club's only source of income and a number that was starting to go down as Sdrenka said customers started pulling their horses out due to damages.
“Our immediate, immediate needs are roofs,” said Sdrenka.
“ We had one day where the weather was okay for us and we worked until midnight,” said Sdrenka.
Long days carry into longer nights, but Sdrenka said she can't do it alone.
That's why she started a Go-Fund-Me, with donations she said will help replace the roofs on the stables and clear out the piles of damage and debris that were scattered across her property.
“There are lots we do with our hands and this is not one of them,” said Sdrenka.
Sdrenka hoped donations will help her to recreate a place that captured so many memories for decades to come.
“We want the community back we want all of those people back in here we want people back in the arena, we want kids back in there,” said Sdrenka.
Click here for the Go-Fund-Me link.