Eight horses perished in a barn fire in Missouri early on Friday morning.
The seven American paint horses and one quarter horse were on the farm of Knaus Show Horses, outside Cleveland in Cass County.
Investigators could not determine the cause of the blaze due to the extent of damage to the barn.
Business owner Peggy Knaus told the Kansas City Star how she jumped from bed and ran across pasture in the dark to get to the burning barn.
“I knew the horses were gone.”
The horses were being prepared on behalf of clients in Minnesota, Illinois, Oklahoma and the Kansas City area for the 2013 American Paint Horse Horse Association World Championship Show in Fort Worth.
Knaus put the value of the horses at between $US300,000 and $US400,000.
Champion Paint horse stallion All Time Fancy (Nike) was in another barn at the time of the fire.