South Georgia horse family heals after heartbreak

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By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News
March 7, 2019

HAHIRA, Ga. (WCTV) -- Horse and rider is an unbreakable bond, through life and death. One South Georgia horse family has learned that the hard way, but never gave up hope.

Last summer brought South Georgia a season of storms. One August night, Mother Nature did not hold back.

"I saw out the window this flash, but it happened so quick. The thunder from it was just so deafening and shocking," said Anthony Davis, owner of Justamere Farm in Hahira.

August 13 was a night the Justamere family will never forget. It started as a normal Monday evening, but then one flash, one freak accident, and two lives were lost.

"All I hear is, 'Is she alive,' and I just break down. I run out of the gym, I'm screaming, I'm crying outside," said Kristina Coburn, rider at Justamere Farm.

"Once it happened I was just in disbelief, I couldn't believe it actually happened," said Avery Jones, another Justamere rider.

Ella and Eliana, or Princess, were killed after a bolt of lighting struck a nearby tree the night of the storm.

"I was gently shaking her, get up, get up," Coburn said. "I kept saying 'Get up, you can't go. I need you.'"

"Even just sitting on the front porch the first week they were gone you almost see them, it's like they're still there even though they're not, their energy was just huge," said Amanda Davis, owner of Justamere Farm. "These kids have that bond, that's their best friend. That's the one thing they can count on is their horse."

Just weeks after the storm, a rainbow of hope.

"I was shocked. I thought it was crazy how people, nice people so far away were willing to help," Jones said.

Through the power of social media, word of the accident trailed up the east coast. Fellow horsewomen surprised these girls by donating two new horses. The donation was made so no little girl would go horseless.

"People are willing to go out there and help these girls out, and not replace what they had, but give them a fresh start," Anthony said.

While Ella and Princess will never be forgotten, the love of four hooves gallops on.

"[Ella] was amazing, and my next horse is going to have some big hooves to fill," Jones said.

A generous gift so two girls would never miss a stride out of the saddle.

"The horse family is a very loving family," Coburn said. "There's always a light at the end of the tunnel."

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