AAEP Foundation Helps Feed Gulf Coast Horses

The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Foundation announced on Feb. 22 a donation of more than $26,000 to two relief efforts for horses affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Both efforts are providing hay and other supplies to horses in Mississippi and Louisiana whose pastures have suffered salt water damage.

The most recent Foundation funding recipient is Sara "Sally" Warner, PhD, and her group, Horse Owners of Florida. Since September 2005, Warner and several friends have been delivering feed every two weeks from their homes in north Florida to horses in Lakeshore, Miss. The AAEP Foundation has donated $5,200 to this effort, which thus far has helped to purchase 500 bales of hay and two tons of feed.

According to Warner, "This funding will help us get the much-needed tractor trailer shipments of hay to the area, allowing us to reach more horses in a timely manner."

Warner is currently arranging a large hay shipment, but acknowledges that as winter progresses, hay supplies might become scarce. "We may have to go as far away as Tennessee and Kentucky to get hay for the Lakeshore area. During every trip we see other areas besides Lakeshore where people who are living in tents and FEMA trailers desperately need to feed their horses. The struggle in Mississippi is not over."

Warner, whose PhD is in history, culture, and theory, operates a center for breeding, importing, training, and showing Warmbloods. To read more about Warner's regular trips to help horses in Mississippi, go to www.blackbayfarm.com/articles.htm.

In another equine disaster relief effort announced in February, the AAEP Foundation has joined with four other equine organizations to provide 6,500 bales of hay to nearly 800 horses in Vermilion Parish, La. (see www.TheHorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=6617). The AAEP Foundation, the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), and the Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association (LVMA) Equine Committee Foundation combined financial resources to donate approximately $59,000 to the relief effort, with $21,000 coming from the AAEP Foundation. The Equine Health Studies Program (EHSP) at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, and the Blue Devils Horse Platoon (BDHP) at the Walker Army Reserve Center in Grand Rapids, Mich., located the hay and are coordinating its delivery and distribution.

"The Foundation wants to continue to help horses in Louisiana and Mississippi who have been affected by the hurricanes, and we recognize there is a need for feed to sustain these horses through the winter," said Nat White, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, AAEP Foundation chairman. "Our goal is to be able to provide long-term aid for horses in need, whether it be to the Gulf Coast region or for future equine emergencies and disasters."

Donations continue to be accepted for the Foundation's Equine Disaster Relief Fund in order to assist with future disasters. To make a donation, visit the AAEP Foundation web site at www.aaepfoundation.org.

Funds also are still available for horses in the Gulf Coast region affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. To apply for funding, visit the AAEP Foundation web site at www.aaep.org/f_apply_funding.php to download an application. For additional information, contact Amelia Geran, coordinator for the AAEP Foundation, at 800/443-0177 or ageran@aaep.org.

The AAEP Foundation was created in 1994 as the charitable arm of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), the world's largest professional association of equine veterinarians. The AAEP Foundation's mission is to improve the health and welfare of the horse through support of research, education, benevolence and the equine community.

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