Okotoks equestrian facility may never rebound from roof collapse

WATCH: It's been two weeks to the day since a team of people barely escaped a devastating roof collapse. The riding arena near Okotoks is destroyed and now the business operating inside may never be able to recover. Jill Croteau reports.

For Morgen Langner, it’s still hard to fathom that she and her family narrowly escaped a building seconds before its roof caved in just a few weeks ago.

Langner owns JM Equestrian near Okotoks. The indoor riding facility’s roof collapsed on March 19, destroying the building and her business at the same time.

READ MORE: Roof collapses at Okotoks horse boarding facility

“It’s been an emotional roller coaster,” Langner said. “You go from, ‘We got this, it’s not that bad,’ to tears.

“You come out on days like this and its dead quiet and it’s just another reminder [that] it’s done. Our business is gone.”

Without the indoor arena to conduct the riding lessons and board horses, Langner said she isn’t sure her business can be salvaged.

“That’s been the hardest part. This is our family business and to know that’s gone, it’s devastating. We’ve shed more tears than you can imagine. It’s a tough pill to swallow,” Langner said.

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WATCH: Global1 helicopter captured footage after the roof on a horse boarding facility collapsed near Okotoks.

Global1 helicopter captures footage of horse-boarding facility near Okotoks
Global1 helicopter captures footage of horse-boarding facility near Okotoks

It’s believed the heavy snow load on the roof caused the collapse. Langner said she heard the beams creaking and snapping before she evacuated all the people and horses from inside.

“My babies were in that building just before it dropped,” she said.

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“It’s hard to stomach. As soon as it gets quiet you start to remember, ‘Holy smokes, there were lives in there.’ We were close. Something was watching out for us that day.”

Owner of JM Equestrian, Morgen Langner, tends to horses
Owner of JM Equestrian, Morgen Langner, tends to horses Jill Croteau


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Area businesses like The Mill Store have stepped in to help with feed for the remaining horses being cared for in the outdoor barns. Employee Richelle Roosman said the business is a big part of the horse community.

“That’s the way the people are in that community. It’s tight-knit,” she said. “When people need help with farm barns, animals, there’s someone there who’s going to step up and do something.”

The facility remains fenced off while the investigation into the cause of the collapse continues.

Langner is renting the facility and carried liability insurance, which covered part of the cost of damages, but it’s unclear whether the owner plans to rebuild.

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