Groups Band Together to Provide Hay for Hurricane Victims

Five equine organizations joined together in Feburary to provide 6,500 bales of hay to nearly 800 horses in Vermilion Parish, La., that were affected by Hurricane Rita. The United States Equestrian Federation, the American Association of Equine Practitioners Foundation, and the Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association (LVMA) Equine Committee Foundation donated approximately $59,000 to the relief effort. The Equine Health Studies Program (EHSP) at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine and the Blue Devils Horse Platoon at the Walker Army Reserve Center in Grand Rapids, Mich., located the hay and coordinated delivery and distribution.

Hay, feed, and vaccines will be distributed to horses in need. Tetanus and encephalitis vaccines have been purchased with the LVMA's Dr. Walter J. Ernst Jr. Veterinary Memorial Foundation funds for administration to Vermilion horses.

Vermilion Parish was one of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Rita. Extension agents estimate 20,000-30,000 cattle died during or after the storm. Many ranch horses that were turned out survived the storm, then perished when they were caught in the tidal surge.

It has become a heavy financial burden for area horse owners to maintain their herds since pastures received extensive salt water damage.

Rustin Moore, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, director of the EHSP and president of the LVMA Equine Committee Foundation, said, "Additional hay has been located in Virginia and Maryland, and producers have indicated that they are willing to donate it for horses and cattle." He is trying to find funds to transport hay to other affected areas. More information:

About the Author

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, received a B.A. in Journalism and Equestrian Studies from Averett College in Danville, Virginia. A Pony Club and 4-H graduate, her background is in eventing, and she is schooling her recently retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Happy, toward a career in that discipline. She also enjoys traveling, photography, cycling, and cooking in her free time.

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