A collective effort has been made by the community to help Legacy Stable return to its tradition and level of excellence after an untoward structure fire on July 20 that destroyed the operation's offices, tack and hay rooms, and damaged two of its barns.

An account has been established at Lydia Rose's Aiken Saddlery and Supply in an effort to help offset some of the expense incurred by Legacy Stable as a result of the fire.

They've also been working with the Thoroughbred training stable based at the Aiken Training Track to make the items available at cost.

“We think really highly of Brad Stauffer and Ron Stevens (Legacy Stable trainers) both,” said Jennifer Mansell, Aiken Saddlery and Supply. “They've been customers of ours for many years. Our heart goes out to anyone who experiences a disaster. We truly love the people of Aiken, want the industry to stay here and will do whatever we can to help.”

People throughout the community have been doing their part, making cash donations, donating supplies, office equipment, and providing services and volunteering to make Legacy Stable's transition into their new location, which is across Two Notch Road.

Lowe's donated 22 box fans, and after Master Chevrolet and Cadillac redecorated its offices, it donated its old office furniture to Legacy Stable.

The outpouring of the support of the community has deeply affected the horsemen, who are thankful for the generosity offered by others.

“One of Brad's friends asked if there was anything he could do, and what our needs were, and came back with little refrigerators, dehumidifiers and office materials,” said Stevens. “The support has been unreal. We've had people here from our church, volunteering their time, painting, scrubbing and doing carpentry. We're going to paint the barn red and white, the Legacy Stable colors. Darley's trainer Tim Jones has been letting us use their tack to train our horses, until ours comes in.”

The Dogwood Stable sign and lawn jockey have been moved across the street to Legacy Stable's new location.

The Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum's program's supervisor Lisa Hall has also played an integral role in helping to organize the drive to help with collecting donations for the stable, said Stevens, who insisted the Thoroughbred operation isn't a charity case.

“After the fire, I received numerous phone calls and emails asking what could be done to help Legacy Stable recover from their loss,” said Hall. “I received inquiries from Kentucky, New York, Florida and California to name a few. The outpouring of support that has been shown has been remarkable and much appreciated.”

Ben Baugh has been covering the equine industry and equestrian sport for the Aiken Standard since 2004.