When Puerto Rico horses were in need, many equine groups stepped up to help.
On Monday Oct.2, the sum of these efforts landed in San Juan at approximately 7 a.m. This included nearly 20 tons of hay cubs and veterinary supplies that had left Miami via a Swift Air flight earlier that morning.
The plane was funded by The Jockey Club and Thoroughbred Charities of America's (TCA) Horses First Fund, meant to help aid more than 800 Thoroughbreds at the Camarero Race Track located half an hour outside of San Juan, as well as assist other horses on the island following recent hurricanes.
— Danonymous Racing (@DanonymousMan) October 2, 2017
In addition to the TCA and The Jockey Club, the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Foundation, Brookledge's Horse America, Caribbean Thoroughbred Aftercare, and the Texas Equine Veterinary Association, all played a part in the effort.
The Texas Equine Veterinary Association worked closely with Ranch Aid, a Federal Emergency Management Agency-appointed organization that assists with logistics and care for large animals during natural disasters. The Humane Society of the United States helped facilitate the federal approval of the shipment.
Alfalfa finally got to the Puerto Rico horses, 13 days after Maria!
Erin Crady executive director of TCA, said:
"There were many, many challenges but we are thrilled to see feed and vet supplies finally reaching the horses in Puerto Rico. This effort would not have been possible without the incredible team work and support of so many organizations and people working tirelessly to get this plane into Puerto Rico."
Finding a plane wasn't easy, since most cargo planes were already being used for humanitarian efforts. Finally TCA board member Terry Finley reached out to friend Vincent Viola, the owner of St. Elias Stables and a shareholder of Swift Air. Viola immediately put TCA in contact with Swift Air to get the supplies shipped.
— TCA (@TBCharities) October 3, 2017
Veterinary supplies came from MWI Animal Health, Texas Equine Veterinary Association and south Florida veterinary practice, Teigland, Franklin, and Brokken. Hay cubes were donated in part by Cargill/Nutrena and also purchased by the AAEP Foundation, and South Florida Purina Animal Nutrition representative Shiela Conde provided assistance with delivery.
Keith Kleine, AAEP's director of industry relations, said:
"This is truly a team effort on the part of the equine industry, there are so many others involved with various efforts. First and foremost, we must thank our thousands of donors since Hurricane Harvey first hit Texas. The generosity has been incredible but sadly, much more is needed to support the horses impacted by Hurricane Maria. There are thousands of horses and caretakers in both Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands that need support."
Efforts to aid the horses continue. Ocala Breeders' Sales and Florida breeder Kim Heath organized five shipping containers of supplies and feed, which will be loaded on a cargo ship and should arrive in San Juan on Oct. 6.
Donations in support of this cause can be made to the American Association of Equine Practitioners Foundation.
What do you think of this effort to aid the horses of Puerto Rico? Share your thoughts below.
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