Friday, January 25, 2008

Water For Elephants, Hay For Horses

If you've been reading Ovations for any length of time, you know I am an animal lover. I live in an area of Southern California known as Horsetown USA. My next door neighbor has horses who I visit every day. I would have a horse, except for the maintence it takes to care for them well. Some people have this gift. My gorgeous neighbor across the street looks like she could live on Wisteria Lane, but she'd rather be scraping her horse's hooves than cohorting with desperate housewives.

Recently two horse rescue organizations have come to my attention that have gripped my heart. My friend Carol sent me an email from a horse rescue organization in Maryland called HorseNet Horse Rescue that is in dire need of ongoing funding. On the same day a writer friend of mine, Sara Gruen, author of the bestselling WATER FOR ELEPHANTS and two other novels with equestrian themes, posted a note in our writer's group about the plight of horses in the drought-stricken South.

This is what Sara posted at our writer's group:

The Southern states suffered a drought this year that devastated pasture and created a severe hay shortage. Horses are starving--even people who can afford the vastly increased cost of hay ($2.50/bale, now up to $12/bale) are having trouble finding it.

Emaciated horses are being set loose on backroads, in National parks, and even left abandoned in trailers in parking lots. The horse rescues that are taking them in are suffering from the same lack of hay and are desperate to feed these animals. I and two other horsey/writerly types (another novelist and a screenwriter), and a really wonderful vet have created a hay fund. We personally financed the first load, and a big rig with 945 bales of compressed hay is on its way to Tennessee at this very moment and will arrive on Saturday. A high school class has volunteered to unload for us at the other end.

We're trying desperately to put together another couple of loads to send to other states as soon as possible. Come spring, if we get rain, some of the
pasture will come back, but right now, in wintertime, there is absolutely
nothing for these horses to eat. If you can help, please do! We are four people
working with laptops and telephones, so every cent you donate will go to hay and transport. We have no overhead (other than the fee that PayPal and the credit card companies charge). We are a 501c3, so all donations are tax deductible.

I believe we have a human obligation to care for animals--particularly those that depend on humans to live. If you agree, will you consider donating to these two wonderful organizations.

For emergency feed to starving horses in the South: The Hay Fund operated by Fairfield Equine, and spearheaded by Sara Gruen; Beth Helms, author of the soon-to-be released novel DERVISHES, and screenwriter, Dana Katselas.

To setup an automated monthly pledge or give a one-time-donation: HorseNet Horse Rescue of Maryland.

Your heart will thank you.

1 comment:

chris said...

In an effort to try and help in this regard, USERL has compiled a list of websites that list hay for sale, as well as to list alternative forages to help supplement your hay supply. As with any feed change, USERL strongly recommends that you speak with your veterinarian before making any changes to your feeding program.