While it’s in the 90s and 100s here in Southern California and we’d love a storm for relief, I can’t stop thinking about all the rains and flooding in Texas as a result of Hurricane Harvey. My heart goes out to all the horse owners and citizens of the area. This post contains info about ways to help our fellow equestrians and their horses.
In a few of the horse-related Facebook groups I saw stories of horse owners trying to prep for Harvey (asking for advice on how to “embed” their phone numbers on their horses–mane tags v. Sharpies on hooves v clipping it into their coats).
I’ve read quick accounts of horse owners battling against the tempest to get their animals and selves to safety and watched the viral videos of horses being rescued.
(The one with the cowboy who jokingly threatened to geld the uppity stud his teenage son had roped and was leading to safety was kind of funny. I appreciated the man’s wit in such a dangerous situation.)
Emily Medway from Texas shared the picture of her three horses (and a mini not in the picture) as they were loaded up and ready to get out of harm’s way. She graciously allowed me permission to use her photo of Ms. Kitty, Grace and Sanity in the trailer. Her neighbor Jeff Skog took this picture as Emily was trying to load her miniature horse.
I love that she literally has Grace and Sanity in the midst of this devastating situation.
Earlier this week the American Horse Council issued a statement about how to help horses (and presumably their people) in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Here is a roundup of organizations that work to provide relief to horses.
In addition to donating money, there are other ways to support fellow horse lovers and the larger community in this desperate time.
Horse Specific Groups
There are several equine specific disaster relief funds that you can donate to (both $ and in some cases supplies) that will support the efforts of emergency response groups and organizations that are helping horses impacted by the flooding.
1. United States Equestrian Federation Equine Disaster Relief Fund
Developed in 2005 during the aftermath of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, the USEF Equine Disaster Relief Fund was formed to help ensure the safety and well-being of horses during trying times. Since its inception, over $370,000 has been donated to aid horses across all breeds in disaster-related situations. All money donated to the fund is strictly used to benefit horses and horse owners, and the USEF will be working with the Houston SPCA to help animals that have been displaced.
To Donate to the USEF Disaster Relief Fund click here.
2. American Association of Equine Practitioners Foundation Equine Disaster Relief Fund
The AAEP Foundation will work with agencies and veterinary members in Texas, Louisiana and other affected states to identify the needs of the equine community. Supplies are not being accepted currently as the catastrophic storm is still occurring. Once the Foundation receives an assessment of need and distribution protocols from the agencies and veterinary members in the afflicted areas, the Foundation will work to support them with supply needs as well.
To support the impending needs of these equine victims, please donate online at: https://foundation.aaep.org/form/foundation-donation.
If you wish to offer assistance with supplies or other resources, please email Keith Kleine at firstname.lastname@example.org and you will be contacted with further instructions.
3. Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International Disaster Relief Fund
The fund helps centers in need due to catastrophic disasters not normally covered by operating insurance. This includes flooding. The fund was started in 2005 to help centers with the damage inflicted by Hurricane Katrina.
To donate to the PATH Intl. Disaster Relief Fund click here.
4. Humane Society of the United States
The HSUS Animal Rescue Team is deployed in Texas, where they are working with local officials to transport, rescue and care for animals. Your support is urgently needed. This will help horses and other types of animals.
5. Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund
Additionally, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has established the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund that will accept tax deductible flood relief donations and will be administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation.
Other Ways to Help through Facebook and Blogs
In addition to these charities and relief funds, a Facebook Group titled East Texas Equine Evacuation and Disaster Relief Network has posts from individual members who have dry pasture for evacuated horses, people looking to donate hay, etc. If you are local-ish to East Texas, this might be a good resource in coming days, weeks and months to help out individual barns, horse owners, etc.
I know that I have random, extra horse objects that I can box up and ship to Texas later if needed (halters, fly masks, polo wraps, etc.). I don’t what types of specific things our fellow horse lovers could use. If you are from the area or know of horse people in the area, please comment and/or reach me with specific ideas/requests. (email@example.com)
I follow some bloggers not in the equestrian realm. One of them who lives near Houston posted pictures of the waters outside her house and suggested that just by clicking through and sharing hers and other local bloggers’ blogs, we can help with their ad revenue (tied to page views), which will help that blogger’s small business/family. That’s a simple and easy thing to do.
One last thing. I asked Emily if there was anything else people from outside of the Harvey-affected area can do to help horses. She said that people watching these stories on social media should not blame anyone who left their horses behind. The flood waters came hard and fast and some owners didn’t have a choice. She said they are already dealing with enough guilt.
(I used to own a horse difficult to load and I personally do not own a trailer–not ideal for evacuating in a dangerous situation. We don’t know what obstacles and decisions people had to make.)
I thought about this encouragement to refrain from assigning blame and thought that was wise advice. My heart and prayers go out to Emily and all the horse folks and non-horse folks of the Houston area.
I’m glad Emily has Grace and Sanity with her to face an uncertain future. May we all have grace and sanity too.
Thank you for reading and please share if you know of other ways we horse lovers can unite to help in this time of need.
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