Texas Equine Rescue Needs Help Following Hurricane

Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society, which has rescue horses stationed in foster homes throughout Texas and Arkansas, could use some help cleaning up after Hurricane Ike. While the group moved its foster and adopted horses well out of harm's way, many of the foster homes they rely on sustained damage.

Society President Jennifer Williams, PhD, normally fosters one to four rescue horses along with her own personal horses at her home south of Houston. But she won't be taking any on for some time as her barn "basically disintegrated."

All of the walls are gone, and part of the barn's roof--as best they can tell--seems to have flown over the top of Williams' house and over the road and another fence before coming to a rest wrapped around a tree in their neighbor's yard.

The former site of Williams' barn

Williams' barn "basically disintegrated."

"I don't think my husband I will be fostering for quite some time," Williams said. "Our guys will probably move home and not have shelter, but I won't do that to a skinny rescue horse. Mine are all fat--they'll be okay."

Williams' horses, which were evacuated before the storm hit, remain safe several hours away. Any foster horses and horses previously adopted from the group that were in the storm's path were also relocated to other foster sites inland.

As Williams works to rebuild, some of the other coastal foster families that normally care for Bluebonnet horses are facing similar situations. Many have trees and fences knocked down, and some sustained damage to their barns.

"Saturday we did a work crew with a bunch of rescue members volunteering," Williams said. "We went out to different houses to get trees cut up and fences up, with the goal of getting horses back home."

As the cleanup effort continues, Williams is looking for some help from Texas horse owners.

"What we could use are some volunteers, especially foster homes, so that we don't have to bring horses back down here for a while and we don't overtax the fosters that we have by piling horses up," Williams said.

If you're interested in fostering a horse, see the Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society Web site for further information. Williams said they'll also accept PayPal donations through the site. Money earmarked for hurricane relief will help the group with transportation costs as they travel to assist their foster families' rebuilding efforts. Funds left over will be transferred to other equine groups.

About the Author

Erin Ryder

Erin Ryder is a former news editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care. She owns a portly gray gelding named Duncan and dabbles in several equestrian disciplines, with an emphasis on dressage.

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