2018 was a rough year for the horse community. We saw dozens of horses put in harm’s way by California wildfires and too many fatal horse injuries across riding disciplines. It’s likely too that your own horse community was hit with colic or lameness or sickness.
As we close the door on 2018, it’s a nice time to look ahead and think about the ways we can support horse health and well-being. You’re already doing the basics by keeping your own horses happy, safe and strong. But if you’d like to take a broader step, here’s a look at five equine organizations that rely on volunteers and donations to do good in the horse community.
USEF Equine Disaster Relief Fund
The USEF disaster relief fund was formed after Hurricanes Rita and Katrina — storms that displaced, stranded and injured hundreds of horses. Since the fund’s formation in 2005, it has donated more than $1 million to support horses impacted by hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, blizzards, and fires.
When disasters strike, the fund usually funnels all donations to local response groups. For example, during the California wildfires in 2018, the fund sent 100% of donations to the North Valley Animal Disaster Group, U.C. Davis Veterinary Emergency Response Team, and the Humane Society of Ventura County.
Learn more about USEF Equine Disaster Relief Fund here.
EQUUS Foundation is a national organization that reviews, verifies and supports equine charities. The foundation’s mission is to promote donor transparency and enforce the highest standards in horse care. EQUUS focuses on charity organizations that support three main initiatives: the care of transitioning and at-risk horses, equine therapy and humane horse retirement.
If you like the idea of supporting smaller, local equine charities, browse the organizations that have undergone EQUUS review and validation. Each charity has a profile page with a donate option, and 100% of those donations go straight to that organization.
Learn more about EQUUS Foundation here.
Mizzou Equine Veterinary Medicine Star Fund
Missouri University’s Equine Hospital is a full-service facility providing preventative care and emergency services — including colic and fracture repair surgeries, as well as less invasive procedures like laparoscopy. The team also does lameness exams using Equinosis, an MU-developed, non-invasive diagnostic tool.
Mizzou’s Star Fund was established in honor of Star, a mare donated to the school in 1988. She lived at the university for a quarter-century, serving an important role teaching students in the veterinary medicine program. The Star Fund helps cover the cost of procedures for horse owners in need and also creates valuable teaching experiences for veterinary students.
Learn more about Star Fund here.
Island Whirl Colic Research Laboratory Fund
In 1988, Mr. and Mrs. William Harder donated funds to establish the Island Whirl Colic Research Laboratory at University of Florida, in honor of their prized TB stallion Island Whirl. The lab’s charter is to study the horse GI tract and identify strategies for the treatment and prevention of colic. Their work has resulted in identifying new ways to improve survival after colic surgery.
Learn more about the Island Whirl Colic Research Lab here.
ASPCA Horse Action Team
The ASPCA Horse Action Team (HAT) lobbies for legislation to protect horses nationwide. The current HAT objective is to build support to prohibit horse slaughter in our country and prevent the shipment of horses to other countries for slaughter.
Learn how to get involved and support the SAFE Act here.
There are also thousands of local equine organizations that rely on volunteers and donors to provide horse rescue, equine therapy and other horse-related services to our communities. Take a minute to promote your favorite equine organization in the comments!
Slow motion video analysis is a tool that is very helpful to assess subtle lameness issues in the horse. It is an invaluable tool to a reliably assess and monitor the response to nerve and joint blocks as well as treatment and rehabilitation.